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Malaysia aspires to be international arbitration hub

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Points of Essence:

  • Malaysia is reviewing the draft laws in adjudication and mediation to develop itself as a comprehensive international arbitration center offering arbitration services for conventional and Islamic financing alike. The existing framework of the Arbitration Act 2005 and the adoption of the New York Convention for Enforcement of Arbitral Awards have provided the support required for arbitration.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will be developed into a major hub for international arbitration and dispute resolutions in line with ongoing local judicial reforms.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that Malaysia also had a wealth of experts in Islamic banking and financing, making it one of the ideal countries for dispute resolution in the region.

“Malaysia aspires to play a major role in international Islamic finance. We have the expertise and experience longer than many countries in Islamic banking.

We can be the centre of arbitration with regard to islamic financing,” he said in his key note address to launch the two-day International Dispute Resolution Conference on Monday. He said the conference was timely as there were draft laws in adjudication and mediation in review at the moment. “The debates in this conference will certainly provide exceptional insights that can inform this review exercise,” he said.

He said the country was ideal for foreign investors as it was well-equipped to resolve disputes on international terms. “With the increase in economic activity including cross border joint ventures, disputes will arise.

“Our laws do not impose restrictions on foreign arbitrators, mediators or counsel appearing at arbitration.

“Foreign investors and the international dispute resolution community can rest assured that Malaysia has not only gleaming infrastructure but also the laws by which businesses would want their disputes resolved” he said.

Abdullah also said that the Arbitration Act passed in 2005 was a model for many others and the country’s adoption of the New York Convention for Enforcement of Arbitral Awards provided the much needed support required for arbitration.

He urged that there be no prejudice towards any particular choice of seat for dispute resolution as it is freely negotiated between individual parties.

“It does not augur well for the future of borderless international disputes resolution if courts order injunction where they perceive a chosen seat as inferior. “Parties must have the right to exercise their choice as to their preferred seat of dispute resolution,” he said.

The conference was organised by the Malaysian branch of the Chartered Insitute of Arbitrators (CIArb) headed by its chairman Leon Weng Seng.

CIArb in Malaysia has 18 chartered arbitrators and 110 fellows as well as providing training and promoting awareness of options present in formal dispute resolutions.

In 2005, Malaysia updated the Arbitration Act to one based on the model espoused by the United Nations Trade Commission on International Trade Law.

“We did this in order to align ourselves more closely to the requirements of international businesses and global trade legal standards,” he said.



Written by Suapi Shaffaii

October 20, 2008 at 4:28 pm

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