07 Sep 2020 Posted in Press releases
- The Ministry of Law, in consultation with relevant Ministries and agencies, intends to extend the duration of legislation that enables entities to hold meetings via electronic means, to 30 June 2021. This will provide entities with greater legal certainty to plan their meetings, and the option to hold virtual meetings to minimise physical interactions, amid the continuing COVID-19 situation.
- The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act (the “Act”) was passed in Parliament on 7 April 2020. Section 27 of the Act empowers the Minister for Law to prescribe, by order, alternative arrangements for meetings otherwise requiring personal attendance.
- Pursuant to Section 27 of the Act, COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings) Orders (the “Meetings Orders”) have been promulgated to enable various types of entities to convene, hold or conduct meetings by electronic means, even if this is not allowed under the written law or legal instrument which provides for the meeting. A list of the relevant Meetings Orders is in Annex A. The Meetings Orders currently apply for the period starting on 27 March 2020 and ending on 30 September 2020.
Planned Extension of the Meetings Orders
- The Ministry of Law plans to extend the Meetings Orders to 30 June 2021. Amendments to the Act were passed in Parliament on 4 September 2020 to permit the Minister for Law to do so. If the President assents to the amendments to the Act, the amendments to extend the duration of the Meetings Orders will be gazetted, once the amendments to the Act come into force.
- The extension of the Meetings Orders to 30 June 2021 will give entities the option to hold virtual meetings, even where the entities are permitted under safe distancing regulations to hold physical meetings. This will help keep physical interactions and COVID-19 transmission risks to a minimum. The need to keep COVID-19 transmission risks to a minimum will remain in the long-term, even as safe distancing regulations are gradually and cautiously relaxed.
- However, existing provisions in the Meetings Orders which allow for meetings to be deferred to a date no later than 30 September 2020 will not be extended to 30 June 2021. To give a further grace period to those entities who need more time to overcome practical difficulties in organising meetings (whether virtual or physical), the deferral provisions for certain types of entities (please refer to Annex B) will be extended, but only to permit deferrals to a date no later than 31 December 2020.
- For the avoidance of doubt, entities can choose to rely on meeting arrangements permitted by their governing instruments, as long as they can do so in compliance with prevailing safe distancing regulations.
- Further announcements will be made when the extension and amendments to the Meetings Orders come into effect. In the meantime, for further information and enquiries, entities may check the websites of or approach their respective regulators. A list of guidance notes and regulators’ contact information can be found at https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/covid19-relief/alternative.
MINISTRY OF LAW
7 SEPTEMBER 2020
Annex A - Meetings Orders (297KB)
Annex B - Deferral Provisions in Meetings Orders (177KB)
Last updated on 07 Sep 2020