Preetha Pillai Partner

T +603 2081 3999 ext 748


Preetha is a litigator with 25 years of experience in civil and commercial litigation and arbitration.
She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and empanelled as an arbitrator with the Asian International Arbitration Centre.
She acts for clients in a broad range of disputes involving joint-ventures, supply of services and goods in the information technology sector, leasing and financing and land matters, to name a few. She has built considerable experience particularly in the area of asset recovery in fraud matters requiring involvement at the forensic investigation stage, providing strategic advice on evidence gathering, obtaining interlocutory orders for preservation of assets and evidence, and ultimately handling the litigation to recover the client’s assets.
Preetha also heads the Tax and Revenue practice and acts for clients in disputes with the tax authorities.
Having a strong interest in rights-based disputes, her other area of interest is Administrative Law.
She is ranked in Chambers Asia Pacific 2023 for Dispute Resolution and has been described as “fast at picking up complicated issues and very good at giving precise advice”.
She in a regular speaker at international conferences and is particularly active at the International Bar Association,  holding  the position  of  Co-Chair  of  the Asia  Pacific  Regional Forum.
At the firm, Preetha co- heads the Social Responsibility Unit and in this capacity co-ordinates and directs the various pro-bono activities undertaken by the firm.

Key Practice Areas

  • Commercial Litigation and Arbitration
  • Fraud and Asset Recovery
  • Tax Litigation, Audits and Investigations
  • International Arbitration
  • Administrative Law

  • Acted as counsel in an arbitration matter commenced by a venture capitalist company to recover its multi-million investment in a Swiss start- up company. 

  • Acted as co-counsel in an arbitration involving a Kuwaiti- owned telecommunications company against its system provider.

  • Acted and acting for a multinational client in disputes involving high value leasing agreements. 

  • Acted as counsel in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Federal Court in a matter involving the recovery of a multimillion ringgit share financing facility secured by back to back put option agreements. 

  • Acted as counsel in an AIAC arbitration for a government agency in an arbitration involving the supply of information technology system to it. 

  • Represented German parties in recovering their investments from a local joint venture partner. 

  • Represented leading stock broking firms in recovering share trading  losses.   The  prosecution  of  some  of  these  suits required extensive evidence gathering and analysis of the laws of agency, contract, companies and securities on issues relating  to the  use of nominees,  market manipulation and fraud. 

  • Acted for a public-listed company in relation to the termination of its subsidiary’s distributorship agreement by the principal and the setting up of a rival company by the principal  with  the  subsidiary’s  employees.  This  litigation required the obtaining of Anton Piller and injunctive orders to preserve   evidence   prevent   the   use   of   the   subsidiary’s confidential information and damages for the interference of the subsidiary’s business, fraudulent contracts and breaches of director’s duties.

  • Acted for a Korean video gaming company in resisting a worldwide injunction sought against it for purported breach of intellectual property rights by its local joint venture partner.

  • Acted as counsel at the Court of Appeal in a suit involving the assertion of fraud to overcome the indefeasibility of title under the National Land Code.

  • Acted as co-counsel in a trespass suit involving the assertion of rights of a temporary occupation licensee under the National Land Code against that of a contract given by a concessionaire.

  • Acting as counsel for a foreign government agency in a worldwide fraud litigation amounting up to a billion ringgit within the Malaysian jurisdiction alone. This dispute required the obtaining of urgent injunctive and search orders to preserve assets and documents.

  • Advised and risk managed a multimillion ringgit fraud perpetrated by a supplier to an information technology firm. The exercise required an extensive examination of the internal controls of the company and its credit assessment mechanisms and advise on recovery of assets.

  • Advised an oil and gas company on questionable sub- contracting arrangements,  its  internal  controls  and  legal strategy in relation to the contracts.

  • Represented a property developer in a suit against its financier for a premature termination of a multimillion ringgit facilities.  Allegations raised by the financier was that there was fraud and corruption at the board level involving our clients and its board of directors.

  • Acted for a multinational Korean company involved in a dispute with its rogue local director. This dispute required the obtaining of urgent injunctive orders to prevent disruption and interference at the company’s project site, siphoning of monies  and  ultimately  the  hijacking  of  its  local company. Extensive evidence gathering was required to establish fraud on the part of the local director.

  • Acted for a subsidiary of a multinational corporation that designs and manufactures shoes, clothing and accessories in a judicial review against the Director General of Customs in relation to special refund of sales tax and successfully obtained the full refund in excess of RM2.5million.

  • Acted as counsel for a British Virgin Island company in relation to its objection filed at the High Court on the applicability of stamp duty exemption to its transaction in Labuan.

  • Acted as counsel for a listed entity engaged in the provision of engineering contract works to challenge the Stamp Office’s refusal  to  apply  stamp duty  exemption  for  the  entity’s financing transactions.

  • Advised and represented a subsidiary of a global chemical and specialty materials company investing in Malaysia and successfully obtained the approval for exceptional GST input tax claim of RM12million.

  • Advised clients from various industries subjected to tax audits and tax investigations.

  • Advised clients from various industries and performing preliminary assessment on the potential impact of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement on their businesses.

  • Advised one of the largest petroleum refineries in Malaysia on real property gains tax issues arising from an internal organizational restructuring.

  • Acted for the Malaysian Stock Exchange in a number of judicial review proceedings filed by public listed companies and their directors challenging the decision of the Stock Exchange in finding them guilty of breaches of the Listing Requirements.

  • Advising and acting for an oil and gas company on issues involving a substantial land acquisition exercise.

  • Acted as counsel for billboard operators challenging the decision of local councils in imposing private contracts in place of the licensing scheme under present bye laws.

  • Acted pro bono in obtaining Malaysian citizenship for stateless persons.

  • Diploma in International Arbitration, CIArb London (2018)
  • Advocate and Solicitor, High Court of Malaya (1998)
  • LL.M, King’s College University of London (1997), Chevening Scholar
  • Certificate of Legal Practice (1996)
  • LL.B (Hons), University of London (1994)
 Professional Affiliations:
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (2018)
  • Co-chair of the Asia Pacific Regional Forum, International Bar Association (IBA)


  • Author: Chapter 19: Tax in a Liquidation, Law and Practice of Corporate Insolvency in Malaysia.



  • Chair, Role of corporate counsel in managing cross border litigation   and   arbitration   disputes,   International   Bar Association,  Asia  Pacific  Regional  Forum  7th    Biennial Conference, Singapore, 2023
  • Chair,     Evidence:     Obligations     and     Implications, International Bar Association, Asia Pacific Regional Forum Litigation Conference, Singapore, 2022
  • Chair, Litigation Session “And so I have judgement, now what?”, International Bar Association Annual Conference, Seoul, September 2019
  • Chair,  “Tax  Havens,  is  there  a  case  for  their  continued existence” 6th IBA Asia Pacific Regional Forum Biennial Conference 2019, Tokyo
  • Chair, “Women in Law”, International Malaysian Law Conference, Kuala Lumpur, August 2018.
  • Speaker,    “Trial    advocacy    -    witnesses,    facts,    and persuading triers of fact”, IBA Annual Litigation Forum, Chicago, USA, May 2018.
  • Speaker, ‘The use of technology in court craft”, IBA Annual Litigation Forum, Zurich, Switzerland, May 2017.
  • Chair, “Breaking Down or Building Up Walls: The Future of International Trade”, IBA Annual Conference, Sydney, Australia, 2017.
  • Chair, “Navigating dispute resolution in North America and the Asia Pacific Region”, IBA Annual Conference, Washington, United States of America, October 2016.
  • Chair, “Evidence in international arbitration: the application of the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration”, IBA Arbitration Training Day, Kuala Lumpur, June 2016.
  • Speaker, “The merits of litigation versus arbitration”  IBA Annual Litigation Forum, San Francisco, United States of America, May 2016.
  • Speaker,  “The  challenges  in  dispute  resolution  in  Asia” IBA 4th Asia Pacific Regional Forum Conference, Singapore, March 2015.
  • Chair,   at   the   Law   Society   of   Singapore’s   Litigation Conference 2015, Singapore on the Singapore International Commercial Court’s reach.

  • Ranked in Band 5 for Dispute Resolution by Chambers Asia Pacific 2021
  • fast at picking up complicated issues and very good at giving precise advice” – Chambers Asia Pacific 2021
  • Listed as Top 100 Women in Litigation by Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2020 – 2021
  • Listed as Litigation Stars by Benchmark Litigation Asia- Pacific 2020 – 2021
  • Nominated as Woman Lawyer of the Year by ALB Malaysia Law Awards 2020