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ETLLP lawyer appointed by Ministry of Law to serve as an assessor under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020


14 September 2020

Appointment as Assessor

1. Suang Wijaya appointed as an Assessor

Eugene Thuaisingam LLP is pleased to announce that our lawyer, Suang Wijaya, has been appointed by the Ministry of Law to serve as an assessor under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act (“Act”). Suang has been appointed by Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, SC, to resolve disputes arising from the application of the Act. The Act seeks to offer temporary relief to fulfil their contractual obligations because of the pandemic.

2. The types of contracts covered by the Act

There are a total of seven types of contracts currently covered by the Act: (a) Leases and licences of non-residential property; (b) Options to purchase and sale and purchase agreements with housing developers; (c) Hire-purchase and conditional sales agreements; (d) Lease or Rental agreements for commercial equipment; (e) Secured loan agreements to SMEs; (f) Event and tourism-related contracts; and (g) Construction contracts and supply contracts.

a. Leases and licences of non-residential property

The Act covers all contractual obligation which a party is unable to fulfil due to the pandemic, including the payment of rent, payment of security deposit, or the obligation to vacate the property by a certain time by the tenant.

A guide for non-residential property tenants can be found here. In the guide, the non-residential property tenants will find information on the qualifying criteria, the relief that the non-residential property tenants may be granted, and how to get relief.

b. Options to purchase and sale and purchase agreements with housing developers

The Act covers Options to Purchase, Sales and Purchase Agreements, and Agreements for Lease for residential properties sold by housing developers. The Act does not cover Options to Purchase and Sales and Purchase Agreements for non-residential properties.

A guide for buyers in contracts with housing developers can be found here. In the guide, the buyers will find information on the qualifying criteria, the relief that the buyers may be granted, and how to get relief.

c. Hire-purchase and conditional sales agreements

The Act covers hire-purchase agreements and conditional sales agreements of a plant, machinery or fixed asset in Singapore that is used for manufacturing, production, or other business purposes; or a commercial vehicle.

A guide for hirers in hire-purchaseor conditional sales agreements can be found here. In the guide, the hirers/debtors will find information on the qualifying criteria, the relief that the hirers/debtors may be granted, and how to get the relief.

d. Lease or Rental agreements for commercial equipment

The Act covers rental agreements for a plant, machinery or fixed asset in Singapore that is used for manufacturing, production, or other business purposes; or a commercial vehicle (not including taxis and private-hire cars).

A guide for renters of commercial equipment can be found here. In the guide, the renters will find information on the qualifying criteria, the relief that the renters may be granted, and how to get the relief.

e. Secured loan agreements to SMEs

The Act covers loans to enterprises (with at least 30% owned by Singapore Citizen and/or PR, and the turnover does not exceed S$100 m) that are secured against any commercial or industrial immovable property located in Singapore (e.g. factory premises, retail space); or any plant, machinery or fixed asset located in Singapore that is used for manufacturing, production or other business purposes.

A guide for SMEs with secured loans can be found here. In the guide, the SMEs will find information on the qualifying criteria, the relief that the SMEs may be granted, and how to get the relief.

f. Event and tourism-related contracts

An event contract is a contract, governed by Singapore law, for the provision of a venue, accommodation, amenities, transport, entertainment, catering or other goods and services for an event, such as a business meeting, conference, wedding, etc.

A tourism-related contract is a contract, governed by Singapore law, for sea or land travel, for the provision of transport, short-term accommodation, entertainment, dining, catering, tours or other tourism-related goods or services for visitors to Singapore, domestic or outbound tourists; or for the promotion of tourism in Singapore or the distribution of products related to tourism for the purposes of trade or retail.

The Act applies to event or tourism-related contracts if the contract was entered into before 25 March 2020, or the contractual obligation is to be performed on or after 1 February 2020.

A guide for event and tourism-related contracts can be found here. In the guide, the vendors/clients will find information on the qualifying criteria, the relief that the vendors/clients may be granted, and how to get the relief.

g. Construction contracts and supply contracts

The Act covers construction contracts and supply contracts within the meaning of section of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (Cap. 30B).

A guide for Construction contractors and suppliers can be found here. In the guide, the contractors/suppliers will find information on the qualifying criteria, the relief that the contractors/suppliers may be granted, and how to get the relief.

3. Role of the Assessor & our commitment

The Panel of Assessors for COVID-19 Temporary Relief (“PACT”) was set up to determine applications made under the Act, and grant just and equitable relief.

Due to these unprecedented times, a lot of businesses face serious difficulties. The Act aims to offer temporary relief to businesses and individuals who are unable to fulfil their contractual obligations due to COVID-19. The Assessor will decide whether the case is one to which the relief under the Act applies and whether the case is entitled to the statutory relief.

Eugene Thuraisingam LLP is grateful to be given the opportunity to assist in resolving disputes in the business community during this difficult time.

Together, we can overcome this!

LAWYERS WITH A HEART

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