eOASIS is Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP's legal information website for clients, containing business and legal information prepared from a practitioner's viewpoint. It has four different modules, updated regularly, and materials range from commentaries on the latest legal developments to key legal and business information.
Temporary Relief Measures for Tenants and Landlords, Purchasers and Developers in the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Amendment Act 2020 (Updated 7 July 2020)
On 5 June 2020, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Bill 2020 was passed in Parliament. The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Act 2020 ("Amendment Act") was gazetted and came into force partially on 20 June 2020. The Amendment Act amends the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 to provide for, amongst other changes, relief measures relating to tenants and landlords, purchasers and developers by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including a framework for rental relief. These changes have yet to come into force.
On 7 July 2020, the Ministry of Law released a note on the rental relief framework in the Amendment Act, providing further details on the entitlement to rental relief and the relevant relief mechanism. The Ministry of Law has also indicated in this note that the rental relief provisions in the Amendment Act will come into force by end-July 2020.
We earlier issued a Client Update highlighting the key measures in the Amendment Act relating to tenants and landlords, intending purchasers and developers. The write-up has since been updated to reflect the clarifications provided by the Ministry of Law and to keep you in the know on the latest information.
Enforcement of Awards / Judgments – Examining a Debtor on Assets in a Foreign Jurisdiction
To facilitate the enforcement of awards and judgments, the Singapore courts are empowered to make certain orders, including orders for the examination of a judgment debtor or its officer regarding the judgment debtor's property (referred to here as the "EJD" process). The recent Singapore Court of Appeal decision in Sun Travels & Tours Pvt Ltd v Hilton International Manage (Maldives) Pvt Ltd  SGCA 65 concerned the types of questions permissible during the EJD process. In this appeal, the Appellant had objected to answering questions about its assets in the Maldives on the basis that those assets would not be available for satisfaction of the judgment debt.
Dismissing the Appellant's objections, the Court of Appeal confirmed that questions could be asked about assets of the judgment debtor in a foreign jurisdiction – regardless of the enforceability of the Singapore judgment there. In doing so, the Court of Appeal resolved the conflict in the earlier High Court decisions of Indian Overseas Bank v Sarabjit Singh  3 MLJ xx xi and Sun Travels & Tours Pvt Ltd v Hilton International Manage (Maldives) Pvt Ltd  SGHC 291 (the latter being the decision which was the subject of the appeal). The Respondent was successfully represented by Paul Tan, Alessa Pang and David Isidore Tan of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP, together with Toby Landau QC.
MAS Consults on Environmental Risk Management Guidelines for Banks, Insurers and Asset Managers
The Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") is seeking feedback on three sets of proposed Guidelines on Environmental Risk Management that will apply to: (i) banks, merchant banks and finance companies; (ii) insurers; and (iii) fund management companies and real estate investment trust managers (collectively, "Proposed Guidelines") set out in three consultation papers.
The Proposed Guidelines set out sound practices for these financial institutions in the following areas: (1) Governance; (2) Risk management; and (3) Disclosure of environmental risk. Each set of Proposed Guidelines is tailored to each sector based on its business activities and salient risk management practices pertinent to such sector.
Feedback on the three consultation papers are required to be submitted to MAS by 6.30pm, 7 August 2020.
This Update provides an overview of the Proposed Guidelines highlighting the scope of application and a summary of the salient features of the Proposed Guidelines.
Singapore and China to Cooperate in the Field of Central Bank Digital Currency
As digital currencies continue to become more commonly used, central banks across the world have begun to explore the implementation of Central Bank Digital Currencies ("CBDC") to replace fiat cash. Mr Ravi Menon, the Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, speaking at a financial forum in Shanghai, discussed the intention for cooperation between Singapore and China in relation to CBDCs. The exchange of knowledge and expertise between the two countries would be a significant aid for the respective CBDC programmes and would also open the door for future opportunities for collaboration. In this Update, we take a look at the CBDC efforts in Singapore and China and what this development could mean for their economies.
COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 Extended to Leases/Rental Agreements for Commercial Equipment and Commercial Vehicles
The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 ("Act") provides for, among other things, targeted and temporary reliefs for individuals and businesses that are unable to perform certain contracts due to the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19. These temporary relief measures apply for six months from 20 April 2020 to 19 October 2020.
On 20 June 2020, the Act was amended to (1) extend the temporary relief measures under the Act to leases or rental agreements for commercial equipment and commercial vehicles; and (2) give effect to part of the changes set out in the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Act 2020. These changes aim to enhance the temporary relief measures for an inability to perform a scheduled contract specified in the Act.
This Update provides a summary of the changes to the Act that took effect on 20 June 2020.