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PM: M’sia Can Become Choice Centre For Arbitration In Asia

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KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia, through the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA) is well-positioned to become a premier centre for arbitration in this region.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said arbitration had today emerged as a strong alternative dispute resolution for commercial and corporate entities in South East Asia, and the government, in recognising its growing importance in this region, was willing to invest in its future.

He said the government had also prepared the right environment for arbitration to grow, including amending the Legal Profession Act 1976, a few months ago.

“The amendment will allow foreign arbitrators and lawyers to enter Malaysia to participate in proceedings here, while foreign practitioners are also exempted from applying for work permit to enter Malaysia to conduct arbitration proceedings,” he added when launching the new KLRCA’s premises at the historic Bangunan Sulaiman here today.

Najib said Malaysia was well-positioned to thrive in this environment, and “our courts support the arbitration process and the finality of arbitration awards, so matters can be settled in months, not decades.”

He said this was also in line with the government’s commitment to openess and growth for Malaysia’s services sector, and “we want more competition and more opportunities to come to Malaysia.”

Citing the latest case of the Malaysia-Singapore joint venture firm M+S Pte Ltd involving in paying development charges for several parcels of lands in Singapore which was resolved through arbitration, Najib said the case could be a model for other countries to pursue in resolving their disputes.

“Instead of allowing disputes to fester and tensions to wrap up, countries can use arbitration as a method to solve disputes and we (Malaysia and Singapore) have shown the way,” he added.

On KLRCA, Najib said the centre which was formed in 1978 had now become an integral part of the international arbitration scene and it “must make full use of Malaysia’s competitive advantages to continue to thrive and succeed in the international arena.”

“We are convinced that KLRCA, the first instituition of its kind to be established in South East Asia, possessed all the right qualities to become the region’s arbitration centre of choice,” he added.

Apart from KLRCA, Bangunan Sulaiaman is expected to house an office of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Sport Arbitration, the Chartered Institute of Arbitration Malaysia and the Malaysian Institute of Adjudicators.

It will also host I-Cells, the think-tank and research arm of the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the National Legal Aid Foundation.

Meanwhile, KLRCA director Prof Datuk Sundra Rajoo said the centre had last year, handled 253 cases, as compared to only 22 in 2010.

Also present at the launch were Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who is also the centre’s Advisory Board Chairman, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz. – BERNAMA

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