Consider this: You’re often criticised at home but out there, outsiders have full trust in your system. This is the hidden message in the article below.
Consider this too: Very often when you’re ahead of your time, you’ll be criticised BIG TIME for introducing new ideas or innovation but when you’re six feet under the ground, the compliments come in fast and furious for that very new ideas and innovation in line with the Malay proverb : “Harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama (forgive me if the phrasing is slightly out as I’m not that good with proverbs – both Malay and English. Btw, this is not the message – hidden or explicit – of the article below).
So don’t be afraid of criticisms. People out there especially in the social media sometimes have nothing better to do but criticise and criticise BIG TIME. It is always easy to criticise but give these critics the chance to implement their ideas, they will more often than not mess it up BIG TIME.
But of course there are others even in the social media who give meaningful and constructive criticisms. Pay attention to them BIG TIME and you won’t fail.
You can criticise whatever you like on Singapore politics but don’t pray-pray with Singapore economic and financial system – it’s one of the best in the world. You can criticise, after all this is a free country, but make sure you do your homework well.
On another issue related to this article, it is a smart move on hindsight on the part of IIUM that when it started operations in 1983, it introduced only two faculties (or Kulliyyah in Arabic) – Economics and Law. See why the combination of economics and law which is not out there but affect every facet of our lives is a win-win situation in the article below.
Hub for cross-border dispute resolution
By Jamari Mohtar
Focus Malaysia | Nov 8 2014
Stage set for formation of Singapore International Commercial Court to resolve cases in the region
WHEN economics and law strengthen each other, the result is a win-win situation. This is aptly illustrated in Singapore.
The intersection of economic activities in Singapore as represented by growing cross-border trade and investment in Asia, and the city-state’s position as a neutral third party venue for dispute resolution in this region, have resulted in the need for a formation of an international commercial court.
With a highly trusted and sound legal system, the efforts to develop international arbitration in Singapore began some years ago that has been achieving significant success.
The economic context for such an effort is that global GDP is expected to increase by 73% to over US$100 tril by 2020. During the same period, it is expected that Asian economies will more than triple – from US$10 tril to US$34 tril. The volume and complexity of cross-border disputes are expected to grow in tandem.
Singapore’s legal sector has also grown substantially too. From 2008 to 2012, the nominal value-added of legal services sector grew by slightly more than 25%. The value of legal services exported from Singapore grew by more than 60%. Hence, demand for effective and trusted dispute resolution services will continue to rise.
The initial effort at making Singapore a hub for cross-border dispute resolution began when the Economic Development Board (EDB) and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore set up the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) in March 1990. Its formation was one of the recommendations of the 1986 Economic Committee to speed up the settlement of commercial disputes.
The SIAC commenced operations in July 1991 with the main objective of developing Singapore to be a regional and international hub for commercial arbitration. In August 1999, the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) took over the responsibility for SIAC from EDB and IE Singapore.
From 1 April 2003, in yet another move to allay any perception of its link with any branch of government, stewardship of SIAC was transferred from the SAL to the Singapore Business Federation (SBF). The SBF is the apex business chamber that represents the interests of the Singapore business community, whose membership comprises more than 15,000 companies, chambers of commerce and key industry associations.
SIAC operates as an independent, not-for-profit organisation. SIAC’s operations are overseen by a broad-based Board of Directors, composed of representatives from the international and local business and professional communities in Singapore.
The republic is now the third most preferred seat of arbitration, after London and Geneva, and SIAC is the fourth most preferred arbitral institution worldwide. In recent years, Singapore law firms ranked amongst the top international arbitration practices in Asia.
Early this year in Parliament, Singapore Law Minister K Shanmugam said SIAC’s caseload is also growing with new cases rising from 99 in 2008, to 259 in 2013. The total value of disputes rose to a record high of more than S$6.06 bil in 2013, and exceeded the combined total of S$4.93 bil for 2011 and 2012.
“SIAC’s caseload is predominantly international and more than 80% of the cases involve at least one foreign party. Establishing the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) and the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) will extend our success in arbitration into adjacent areas of commercial mediation and court-based commercial litigation for international cases. The idea is to provide users with an entire suite of dispute resolution services, and they can choose from those, which best meet their needs,” added the Law Minister.
The Singapore International Commercial Court
In November 2013, the SICC Committee, chaired by then-Justice V K Rajah and Senior Minister of State for Law, Indranee Rajah, recommended the establishment of the SICC as a division of the High Court, to hear international commercial disputes.
The SICC was proposed to bolster Singapore’s ability to provide a full suite of commercial dispute resolution services, which span litigation, arbitration and mediation and address the rise in complex cross-border commercial disputes arising from the growth in trade and investment into Asia.
Separately, the Committee to Review the Regulatory Framework of the Singapore Legal Services Sector (Regulatory Committee) chaired by then-Attorney General Sundaresh Menon, had also submitted its set of recommendations to the Ministry of Law in January this year. The recommendations are aimed at modernising the regulatory regime of the legal profession in Singapore, which now comprises not only Singapore-qualified lawyers (SLs) and Singapore law practices, but also a growing number of foreign-qualified lawyers (FLs) and international law practices practising foreign law, and where licensed to do so, Singapore law in permitted areas of legal practice.
These developments coalesce in the introduction of three bills by the Ministry of Law on Oct 7 for their first reading in Parliament: the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Bill; the Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Bill; and the Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill 2014.
The Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Bill and the Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Bill include amendments that will enable the establishment of the SICC, while the Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill 2014 contains amendments to implement regulatory framework changes recommended by the Regulatory Committee along with SICC-related and other miscellaneous amendments.
On Nov 4, these bills were passed by Parliament, paving the way for the establishment of a court – the SICC – that will be the first of its kind in Asia to cater to foreign parties and foreign laws and make Singapore an attractive venue for international businesses to resolve their disputes.
Speaking in Parliament during the debate to pass the bill, Shanmugam says achieving a reputation as the go-to place for dispute resolution in Asia, and perhaps even the world, will not be easy and will take time but that is something Singapore must try for, and the new court is an attempt to achieve this.
“I think it is not going to be possible to precisely track the direct and indirect economic benefits, but we have to define success at two levels. One the number of cases, and the type of claims that have come through but second also the intangible, which is how does it position us as a legal hub? As a place to go to in all of Asia? So if you sit anywhere in the world and you think of a dispute resolution in the courts in a neutral forum, would you think of Singapore? That is what we want to try and achieve,” adds the Minister of Law.
The new court will see a panel of judges that will include both Supreme Court judges and international judges. Parties to the dispute will be given the option to apply for a foreign-qualified lawyer to represent them in some cases.
The court may also allow the parties to apply alternative rules of evidence that they’re more familiar with.
This will help to make the SICC a more attractive option to foreign parties with little or no Singapore connection, says Shanmugam.
Singapore tops survey as most business-friendly economy
SINGAPORE was named the world’s most business-friendly regulatory environment for the ninth straight year, based on a World Bank’s survey, Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency, released on Oct 29.
The survey bases its scores on factors such as corporate tax rates, set-up costs, energy prices and transparency. Also in the top 10 in order of merit were New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark, South Korea, Norway, the US, the UK, Finland and Australia.
Malaysia’s increased efficiency in dealing with construction permits helped its ranking – from 20th in 2013 to 18th this year. It was fourth in Asia ahead of Taiwan at 19 and Thailand at 26.
“Through an ambitious reform agenda, Malaysia has gradually improved the ease of doing business. This has benefited local entrepreneurs, who now have fewer regulatory hurdles to deal with and more resources to focus on their business,” said Rita Ramalho, Doing Business lead author, in a statement which accompanied the report.
“Malaysia’s case also shows how the latest technologies can be used to improve the regulatory environment for businesses. Over the past five years, for example, the implementation of electronic systems has made it easier for businesses to pay taxes and execute contracts.”
Now in its 12th year, the report showed that Malaysia has improved its business regulatory framework through 17 reforms since 2005, compared to the global average of 12 reforms per country in the same period.
It is interesting to note that none of the eurozone’s core economies – Germany, France, Italy and Spain – made it to the top 10. Italy was ranked 56th, below Bahrain, Rwanda and Armenia.
Eurozone economies are facing recession risks according to the International Monetary Fund. The survey raises an interesting question of could it be that a country facing recession risk slackens in enhancing its business regulatory environment. That’s something for the experts to think about.
For Singapore, the No 1 position is very timely when viewed in conjunction with the passing of three bills in its Parliament on Nov 4, which paves the way for the establishment of Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) in an attempt to make the republic a hub for cross-border disputes resolution.
The debate preceding the passage of the bill was robust when it came to the issue of the appointment of Senior Judges to hear cases in the High Court, including those in SICC. These are retired judges of the Supreme Court who can be appointed for a specified period of time.
Opposition MP Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) opined that since these judges are appointed for short terms and contract renewal is dependent on recommendations from the Prime Minister and concurrence by the President, the uncertainty of reappointment carries a risk.
“Short-term judges would be wary of making decisions that put the government or ruling party politicians in a bad light, and might make safe decisions so as not to jeopardise their reappointment. I’m not saying this has in fact happened, nor am I impuning the integrity of the President or Prime Minister. But if we are to improve the design of our constitutional institutions for the long-term, these provisions do not help instill the highest public confidence in the independence of the courts,” Lim said.
The rejoinder from Law Minister K Shanmugam: “What we should be looking at is the appointment of persons with the right timbre. At the end, that’s your best guarantee. And judgments in public, we have a highly-educated public. They can look at the judgments and they can decide whether the bench is or is not of the quality we want.”