ASEAN Regulatory Brief: Cambodian Corruption, Due Diligence in Singapore, and a Thai Uber Ban
Cambodia: New Regulations to Reduce Corruption and Boost Transparency at CDC
The Cambodian government announced new rules on May 9 for investors and officials planning to conduct business with the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC). The regulations were introduced to reduce corruption and boost transparency at the CDC. It would require investors meeting with the CDC to provide valid identity documents (ID). Acceptable identity documents include government-issued ID cards, a valid driver’s license, or passport. The documents will be used for registration and the official will return the documents when the meeting with the CDC has been completed. The subject, name of the investor and the company, and the time will be recorded for all meetings. All rules will be applicable for meetings held outside the CDC premises as well. In addition, the new rules prohibit unrecorded informal meetings with the CDC.
Some private companies believe that the new rules will spur distrust between investors and the CDC, thus creating a hostile environment for business transactions. However, the government states that the new rules will improve the business environment in the country by boosting transparency. In addition, the rules will reduce the role of intermediaries, which will enable companies to deal directly with investors. Economic analysts believe that successful implementation of the new rules will aid investors, businesses, and companies alike, and make Cambodia an attractive destination to do business.
Singapore: ABS Issues Stricter Guidelines for Conducting Due diligence
The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) announced new guidelines on companies that are planning to be listed. The guidelines earmark the procedures that ABS member banks should follow when helping companies get listed.
The new regulations recommended that issue managers of ABS member banks should take additional precautions to assess the applicants’ management, business model, and potential money-laundering risks. A key highlight of the new regulation is that issue managers have been asked to investigate if there has been a recent resignation among the management, directors, or important shareholders. The guidelines also recommended site visits, checks on taxable income and revenue, as well as an investigation of tax filings among other things. The guidelines were brought into effect on May 14.
Dezan Shira & Associates believes that the stricter guidelines will not deter investment and potential listing applicants. The stringent due diligence norms will ensure high-quality listings, which is expected to boost investor confidence.
Thailand: Government Bans Uber and Grab Motorcycle Taxi Service
The Thai government banned motorcycle-taxi hailing services offered by Uber and Grab recently. The government states that the app-based aggregators broke local rules and are clashing with transport companies that have registered formally. The authorities arrested drivers for both companies and said that offenders would face fines of up to US $112 and have their licenses suspended.
The recent ban highlights the importance of compliance with local laws. Companies entering foreign markets should track the laws and regulations and ensure compliance with such laws. Uber and Grab face significant reputational and financial damage due to the ban. Other companies that ignore laws in their sector may face similar risks. Companies that track regulations often mitigate the risks faced by their businesses.
Asia Briefing Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. Dezan Shira is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore and the rest of ASEAN. For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.dezshira.com.
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