New York Convention Roadshow in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Fresh from ICCA’s Congress in Singapore, ICCA’s Judicial Committee travelled to neighbouring Malaysia on 16 June 2012 for a judges’ seminar on the New York Convention. Speaking in Putrajaya, ICCA Governing Board Members Michael Hwang, Teresa Cheng and Albert Jan van den Berg addressed some 80 Malaysian Judges, from the Federal Court (Malaysia’s highest court), the Court of Appeal, the High Court, joined by a few Sessions Court Judges. The seminar was the initiative of Malaysian Governing Board member Cecil Abraham.
The seminar opened with introductory remarks by the Chief Judge of Malaya, Tan Sri Zulkefli Makinudin, who thanked ICCA for making the seminar feasible, and commenced with a talk by Professor Albert Jan van den Berg on the New York Convention. Prof. van den Berg compared the New York Convention and the Malaysian Arbitration Act 2005, as amended by the Arbitration (Amendment) Act 2011, which gives effect to the New York Convention, making certain recommendations for possible amendment by the Malaysian authorities. Extensive use was made of the New York Convention website (www.newyorkconvention.org) and the ICCA website (www.arbitration-icca.org), both of which include resources on the New York Convention.
Singapore-based barrister Michael Hwang then spoke of the Singapore experience, namely, how the Singapore courts deal with issues such as interim measures, stay and other applications that are made to the court. He emphasised the arbitration-friendly attitude of the Singapore courts, with little or no curial interference, and recommended that Malaysian Judges take a similar attitude towards arbitration. In the course of his presentation, he highlighted the position taken by the Malaysian courts in a number of cases, which conflicted with the provisions of the New York Convention, especially in the area of public policy.
Hong Kong-based barrister Teresa Cheng (one of ICCA’s Vice-Presidents) then spoke about how the Hong Kong courts dealt with arbitration issues, also dealing briefly with the position of arbitration in China.
After the interactive and successful seminar, Judges noted that the seminar had given them a new perspective on arbitration and the New York Convention, and that there should be less or little curial intervention in Malaysian courts.