The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021 ranked ZUL RAFIQUE & partners in nine practice areas which include four Tier 1 Firm rankings for Banking and Finance, Capital Markets, Islamic Finance and Labour and Employment; one Tier 2 Firm ranking for Real Estate and Construction; three Tier 3 Firm rankings for Corporate and M&A, Dispute Resolution and Projects and Energy; and one Tier 4 Firm ranking for TMT.
The Legal 500 2021 Guide also recognised 17 of our lawyers for their outstanding contribution in their respective practice areas, with 22 total rankings including two Partners in the Hall of Fame; another three Partners as the Leading Individuals and other 12 Partners as Recommended lawyers.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our employees for their hard work, dedication and commitment; and to our clients and friends for their loyal support.
Click HERE for our Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021 rankings and testimonials.
Click HERE to download the following infographic on the Legal 500 Asia Pacific Top Tier Firm and Leading Lawyers 2021 or click HERE for the Mandarin version.
All Firm Rankings
- Banking and Finance
- Capital Markets
- Islamic Finance
- Labour and Employment
Real Estate and Construction
- Corporate and M&A
- Dispute Resolution
- Projects and Energy
All Lawyer Rankings
Hall of Fame
BANKING AND FINANCE TIER 1
- Five partners direct the banking and finance offering at Zul Rafique & Partners: Loh Mei Mei, Kung Suan Im, Ashela Ramaya, Chan Kwan Hoe and Celine Rangithan. Described as: 'very well versed in finance transactions', it holds Bank of China, HSBC Group and Cathay United as key clients. Matters handled include: Islamic financing, offshore lending, international issuance of debt instruments, domestic syndication, asset-backed securitisation and project financing. A characteristic highlight is the firm's work for Genting Malaysia on a Senior Secured Bridge Term Loan Facility of USD350 million.
- ‘Zul Rafique is very well versed in finance transactions and their responses are always prompt and on-point‘.
- ‘We sought quotes from a number of firms in Malaysia and were consistently impressed with the responsiveness, thoroughness and insight of Zul Rafique. Their core strengths have been responsiveness, breadth of expertise and technical ability. There were a number of aspects in our transactions which were not straightforward and Zul Rafique was able to discern the material issues and propose pragmatic solutions‘.
CAPITAL MARKETS TIER 1
- ‘Ashela Ramaya is our main contact. She is responsive, technically strong and very capable‘.
- ‘Both Celine and Ashela are very prompt, responsible and very commercial‘.
Capital markets issues at Zul Rafique & Partners are handled by the firm's banking and finance Group. Counting Bahrain Mumtalakat and Allied Irish Bank as recent client wins, it is also known for its work on behalf of HSBC, Bank of China and Standard Chartered. It covers: Islamic financing, cross-border lending, issuance of debt instruments, offshore syndication and asset-backed securitisation. A recent standout case is its role in advising CIMB Investment Bank on a medium term notes programme granted to Semangkuk 2. This high value deal involved the acquisition of industrial warehouses and logistic properties in Malaysia. Recommended lawyers: Loh Mei Mei, Kung Suan Im, Ashela Ramaya, Chan Kwan Hoe and Celine Rangithan.
ISLAMIC FINANCE TIER 1
Headed by Loh Mei Mei, the Islamic finance team at Zul Rafique & Partners assists clients with a broad range of Sharia principles. Specifically, this includes: Musyarakah, Mudharaba, Murabaha, Istisna, Wakalah, Musawamah and Ijarah matters. A notable recent case concerns the firm's work for Maybank and United Overseas on an unrated medium term notes programme (up to RM682.5 Million). The firm also includes corporate banking specialist Kung Suan Im, debt capital market expert Celine Rangithan and Sukuk practitioners Ashela Ramaya and Chan Kwan Hoe.
LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT TIER 1
- The labour and employment team at Zul Rafique & Partners advises clients on industrial matters such as strikes and picketing. In addition, it handles non-contentious issues such as the establishment of pension funds, share option schemes and various remunerative utilities. It is led by Jayasingam A/L Poopalasingam, Wong Keat Ching and the 'highly skilled' Thavaselvi Pararajasingam, respective specialists in litigation, disciplinary matters and constructive dismissal. A notable highlight concerns its successful defense of Public Bank Berhad in the Industrial Court, a case concerning false representation in support of a renovation loan. The firm's client portfolio includes PricewaterhouseCoopers, Malaysia Airlines and AEON Credit Service.
- ‘Over the years, they have gained our trust in partnering with us to manage sensitive and confidential matters. They have also obliged our request to run knowledge sharing workshops to up-skill my team in IR matters and correspondingly we have been happy to share our workplace practices and policies with them‘.
- ‘Messrs Zul Rafique is one of the top tier firms if not the top in many diverse fields of law. I have experience working with them for the past 20 years as a litigation lawyer and now as in house counsel. They are obviously highly knowledgeable in Employment matters and have a commercial sense which is valuable especially to our organization‘.
- ‘The team takes time to understand the situation and explain it in layman’s terms‘.
‘P. Thavaselvi is a highly dedicated lawyer and highly skilled in her field. She is also very responsive and available at all hours of the day. She has a good balance of commercial sense and is ready at hand with advice whenever approached‘.
REAL ESTATE AND CONSTRUCTION TIER 2
Zul Rafique & Partners offers services on property acquisitions and divestments, property developments and joint ventures, commercial leasing, and property management. Leong May Ling is active on the transfer of assets and development agreements while Ainal Marlinda Md Said is noted for her real estate planning work. Tang Ai Leen has joined Wong & Partners.
CORPORATE AND M&A TIER 3
The corporate and M&A team at Zul Rafique & Partners has experience assisting local and international clients on a broad range of deals. In particualr, it assists with cross-border and domestic mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, takeovers and restructuring. The group is led by Jerry Ong and David Lee Lai Huat and covers industries such as insurance, finance, telecommunications, real estate and education.
DISPUTE RESOLUTION TIER 3
- Made up of two specialisms - construction and general litigation, the dispute resolution team at Zul Rafique & Partners represents clients such as AirAsia, PETRONAS and Sapura Industrial. The group is headed by Jayasingam P and T Kuhendran and handles civil claims, derivative actions, product liability, administrative law, defamation, insolvency and restructuring. Arbitration in relation to engineering is also pursued, an area in which it has represented a substantive number of HNW individuals. 'Strong team leader' Farah Shuhadah Razali is the name to note for winding-up matters.
- ‘The team is made up of personnel with diverse characters and dynamics which makes every meeting pertaining to any case or matter at hand a smooth and efficient one even to discuss the most complex and critical issues‘.
PROJECTS AND ENERGY TIER 3
Zul Rafique & Partners' broad practice provides expertise in electricity, water and public projects, with the matters led by Lukman Sheriff Alias while the infrastructure work is undertaken by Tunku Alizan RM Alias. He advises clients on the development of oil terminals and industrial facilities.
TMT TIER 4
The TMT team at Zul Rafique & Partners is headed by Darren Kor Yit Meng: 'known for his legal knowledge and client responsiveness'. The team has extensive experience representing major communication providers (both fixed and mobile) and counts Telekom Malaysia as a key client (it successfully defended the company in an access dispute matter initiated by YTL Communications).
‘Darren Khor is known for his legal knowledge and client responsiveness‘.
Loh Mei Mei
- We have the fortune of working with Jerry Ong for several occasions on acquisition deals, relying on his extensive legal experience that is balanced by practical commercial wisdom, and backed by skillful business negotiation prowess. Quick to capture the issues and undercurrents at hand, time and time again, he has enabled us to achieve outcomes that advances our transactional interest and objectives. Further, with quick response time and always prepared with comprehensive research beforehand, he is an excellent lawyer to have at your side for deals. – Anonymous
- We have had a truly great experience working with Jerry on some of our corporate transactions. The thing that stood out for us with Jerry was the fact that he was not only legally competent but has such good business and commercial acumen and mindset and gave very practical recommendations. He is very committed and always willing to go the extra mile with swift and prompt response which is given in a simple and yet easy to understand legal explanation. He provides solutions in a holistic angle and yet at the same time he has such an amazing attention to details. Highly recommended. - Jennifer Chong, General Counsel, KSK Group Berhad.
- Jerry Ong brings with him many years of experience on advising on complex and intricate corporate transactions. His in-depth practical knowledge of M&A, corporate finance and corporate governance have greatly assisted us in maneuvering across deep and unknown waters. He is easy to deal with and ever available for quick discussions at short notice. Turnaround times are quick too. With his familiarity with the laws and operational knowledge of how the boardroom and transactions actually work, he is able to break down his explanation and advice in simple, easy to understand terms. He takes a very pragmatic and practical approach on his counsel to solve issues and with a lot of commercial sense and understanding built into it. This makes his advice relatable and easy for management to understand, which I think is key to a successful counsel engagement. - General Counsel, Legal, Axiata Digital.
- It was a pleasure for me working with Jerry Ong on a few corporate transactions. Valued his legal inputs as well as his commercial approach towards each transaction. Always responsive, responsible and hands-on with focus on the end game for our benefit especially during negotiation sessions. He is quick to grasp on the intricacies of each transaction and comes up with holistic solutions for us. Jerry has a touch of business savviness, not just a lawyer, making him unique. Excellent client experience. - Chan Weng Fai, Director-Corporate Finance, KSK Group Berhad.
Wong Keat Ching
- The team led by Ms Loh Mei Mei is well experienced in corporate bonds and Sukuk transactions. The team is proactive in highlighting potential issues and solutions, always ready to provide advice and solutions from a legal perspective and continuously produce commendable work quality in a timely manner. ZRp remains one of our preferred choices as legal counsel for our DCM transactions. - Team Head, Debt Capital Markets, Maybank Investment Bank
- Mei Mei is a true specialist in her area of practice. Diligent, innovative and knowledgeable – traits which are assuring to the client, she and her team have the ability to strike an equilibrium between the key ingredients of legal requirements, regulatory obligations, commercial needs as well as practicality in the sound advice and solutions that were offered to address complex legal and structural issues which we encountered to bring to the fore a novel sukuk structure of which there has been no precedence. Always making time for the client, it has always been a pleasant and enlightening experience to work with Mei Mei and her team. - Associate Director, Institutional and Product Development, Guidance Investments Berhad
Dato' Muzaffirah Tun Ahmad Fairuz
- Ms Wong Keat Ching from ZRp is a consummate professional with an excellent work ethic. She consistently responds to client’s queries on a timely basis and is detailed and thorough when preparing for trial. She also has a fine sense of understanding and balance between one’s legal rights and the practical alternatives. – Anonymous
- I’ve been working with Keat Ching of Zul Rafique as my Industrial Relations Legal Counsel in my previous employment and because of the excellent service she have provided over the years, I have again engaged her in my current role with a Financial Institution. Keat Ching and her team has always provided good, thorough advise and have also gone the extra mile in providing impromptu and ad-hoc advise. She is very knowledgeable on the latest IR development in the country and I am comfortable with her views and guidance. She has a good balance between legal considerations and business needs. - Lai Tak Ming, Executive Director Country Head, Human Resource, UOB Malaysia
- Hoover Ferguson has been working with Zul Rafique & Partners and specifically Wong Keat Ching for more than 3 years. Wong Keat Ching and her team provides excellent advice and is efficient in providing practical solutions to all of our queries. She and her team have demonstrated an excellent understanding on all facets of employee and industrial relations in Malaysia. - Christopher Straughan Manager Human Resources – APAC, Hoover Ferguson.
- ‘Keat Ching and her team know our firm well. They are very professional in responding to our queries, and give us reliable and sound advice‘.
- ‘Keat Ching – is a subject matter expert in her field is able to understand the problems and provide advice accordingly‘.
Farah Shuhadah Razali
- I was represented better than I could have ever imagined. My needs were put first and I was treated as a friend rather than a number. My opinions were valued and my doubts were always reassured. My nerves were calmed and the process was always explained. Dato’ Firah went above and beyond and did everything she could to ensure a great outcome. I couldn’t have asked for a better law firm. Thanks Dato’ Firah. - Dato’ Seri Azlan Meah bin Hj Ahmed Meah, Executive Director, Berjaya Corporation Berhad
- Dato’ Muzaffirah and her team are some of the most amazing lawyers out there. I have known her and her colleagues both as a client. I can’t say enough good things, honest, reliable, professional, and gets the job done. She helped me fast and in a very cost-effective way. Thank you, Dato’ Firah & The Great Zul Rafique law firm! - Mohd Fauzie Bin Zainor, Senior Manager, Corporate Department, Berjaya Corporation Berhad
- Dato’ Firah is no ordinary person, her loyalty runs in her bloodstream, she is just, sharp and committed till resolving matters at hand. Known her for almost 10 years, you can bend the law but you can’t break her spirit and determination. Highly recommended for all levels! - Shashitharan Nair, Senior Manager, Corporate Services & Information, Berjaya Corporation Berhad
- Dato’ Firah is very pleasant to deal with, always efficient and highly-motivated at all times. We’ve got so many things moving very fast with her advice & recommendation. Cheers to many more collaborations in the future. - Mohd Taufik Mohd Fuad, Senior Manager, Corporate Services & Information, Berjaya Corporation Berhad
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- Ms Farah Shuhadah is very smart, creative, calm and yet bold! All the right ingredients for a great litigator. She will go the extra mile to study the technical aspects of the dispute and understand them perfectly well. I feel very confident and comforted that she handles my case. - Senior Legal Counsel, PETRONAS Chemicals Group Bhd.
- Ms. Farah Shuhadah has provided excellent quality service in delivering practical, comprehensive and clear solutions when dealing with potential or ongoing legal disputes. We truly recognize her efforts, reliability and quick response in ensuring the best possible outcome for the company. - Senior Legal Counsel, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS)
- ‘Those who we have worked with have given a very personalised approach to our requirements and their ability to perform detailed level of background checks prior to each meeting definitely impressed us. They are able to come up with a summary of the situation at hand and the proposed resolutions for our consideration. Farah Shuhadah Razali is definitely a strong team leader of her own team‘.