COVID-19 relief measure: Duration of alternative arrangements for meetings to be extended to 30 June 2021

Min-Li TanPartner, CNPLaw LLP

In view of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and to minimise physical interactions, the Ministry of Law (“MOL”) has announced that entities will be allowed to hold meetings via electronic means up to 30 June 2021 (“Extension”). The Extension will also provide entities with greater certainty when planning meetings.

This article focuses on the impact of the Extension to companies intending to hold meetings.

Background

On 7 April 2020, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act (“Act”) was passed by Parliament. The Act provides, inter alia, that where personal attendance at any meeting is required in any written law or legal instrument, the Minister of Law may prescribe alternative arrangements for the meeting to be held, including via video conference, tele-conference or other electronic means.

Pursuant to the Act, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings for Companies, Variable Capital Companies, Business Trusts, Unit Trusts and Debenture Holders) Order 2020 (“Order”) has been promulgated to enable various types of entities to hold meetings via electronic means. Prior to the Extension, the Order applied for the period starting on 27 March 2020 and ending on 30 September 2020.

For more details on the alternative arrangements available to companies under the Order, please refer to our article released in April 2020: https://www.cnplaw.com/covid-19-update-alternative-arrangements-for-meetings-for-companies-cnpupdate-may2020.

Extension

The MOL now plans to extend the Order to 30 June 2021. The Extension is subject to the President’s assent, and will be gazetted once the amendments to the Act come into force.

In terms of rationale, the MOL cited the need to keep COVID-19 transmission risks to a minimum as one of the reasons for the Extension.

Further Announcements

Further announcements will be made by the MOL when the extension and amendments to the Order come into effect. In the meantime, companies may also visit this website for a list of guidance notes and regulators’ contact information: https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/covid19-relief/alternative

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