Siva Kumar Kanagasabai Partner

T +603 2081 3999 ext 734


Kumar heads the Maritime and Shipping practice group in the firm. He has acted in various types of maritime related  disputes including involving in ship arrests, charterparty disputes, oil pollution claims, vessel detentions, cargo claims, Incoterm contracts and enforcement of ship mortgages under conventional and Islamic facilities.

Kumar is also involved in corporate/commercial litigation and has been engaged in one of the largest ever fraud recovery actions. He also has an active arbitration practice. Apart from being appointed as arbitrator, he has acted as counsel in both domestic and international arbitrations, sought interim measures in support of foreign seated arbitrations and dealt with challenges to arbitral awards in the Malaysian Courts.

He also co-heads the Employment practice of which he has over 20 years’ experience.  He has acted as lead counsel in a full range of employment-related disputes. Kumar is a regular contributor to law publications and is often invited to speak at legal conferences.
He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Key Practice Areas

  • Maritime and Shipping
  • Employment
  • Commercial Litigation and Arbitration
  • Fraud and Asset Recovery

  • Acting in inter-related claims for breach of ship management agreement in the High  Court and an alleged breach of the bareboat charter agreement in arbitration involving a claim in excess of RM64m

  • Acting  in claim for demurrage charges in excess of US$1.7m due to alleged misrepresentation on loading rate by service provider

  • Acted in obtaining  an order to prevent dealings with a luxury yacht under the Langkawi International Yacht Registry Act 2003

  • Acting in an in rem claim involving crude oil delivery of approximately 1 million barrels worth in excess of US$76m

  • Acted in claim for undelivered cargo involving multiple claimants, issues on title to the cargo and priority/validity of security issues

  • Engaged by MLC underwriters in relation to unpaid crew claims

  • Acted as counsel for shipowner in multi-million dollar cross-border cargo damage claim in an international arbitration.

  • Acted as counsel for ship owners in claims against port authorities for damage to a vessel during loading.

  • Acted as counsel in a multi-million dollar claim for alleged breach of bunker supply agreement as well as in other bunker supply claims.

  • Acted for mortgagees and receivers in enforcement and recovery actions against vessels.

  • Acted in a multi-million dollar shipbuilding contract and charterparty dispute.

  • Acted in ship arrests and setting aside orders for ship arrests   in Malaysian ports in connection with various maritime claims.

  • Gave expert evidence on Malaysian law on ship arrest in an LMAA international arbitration whose seat of arbitration was in Singapore.

  • Acted in shipping-related insolvency matters, including for bank, receivers and liquidators in priority claims brought by an equitable mortgagee involving the liquidation of a shipyard.

  • Acted in an arbitration claim involving a breach of commodity supply contract.

  • Acted in various judicial sales of vessels on behalf of sellers and buyers

  • Acted as counsel in a recent claim involving the novel issue of the jurisdiction of the admiralty court

  • Advised and acted for clients in claims involving security over vessel and cargo and priority claims

  • Acted in ship collision matters including in rem claims in Court for loss or damage caused by a ship

  • Acted as counsel in successfully obtaining an injunction to freeze assets in excess of US$76 million as an interim measure in aid of a foreign seated arbitration involving an oil trading dispute 

  • Acting as counsel in an arbitration in a bareboat charterparty dispute involving a claim in excess of RM64m

  • Acting as counsel in a claim for an alleged breach of warehouse services agreement 

  • Acted as counsel in a domestic arbitration in relation to alleged breaches of a concession agreement involving total claims in excess of RM100 million where an injunction in aid of arbitration was sought.

  • Engaged as counsel to defend and challenge an arbitration award in the High Court and thereafter on appeal 

  • Acting as co-counsel in a partnership dispute involving a large Malaysian law firm which has been referred to arbitration

  • Engaged as counsel in enforcement at common law of a foreign judgment in excess of RM100 million 

  • Acted for the Defendant in a securities and margin financing claim in excess of RM600 million.

  • Acted for mutual organisation in a claim by a member against the mutual organisation on the right to seek support. 

  • Acted as counsel in a land dispute where a challenge was made on the indefeasibility of registered title and which involved allegations of illegality and forgery.

  • Acted for major insurance companies in obtaining vesting orders in relation to business transfers. 

  • Acted for the Malaysian Bar Council in various disciplinary cases on appeal to through the legal system.

  • Engaged to act in one of the largest ever fraud recovery  actions against the shadow director, parties who participated in the fraud and provided dishonestly assistance; as well as beneficiaries who knowingly received  company assets
  • Engaged to act in various fraud recovery action against directors, employees and third parties who facilitated fraud/misappropriation of monies
  • Acted in a multi-jurisdictional recovery action against the Defendant who had defrauded a foreign company, including obtaining injunctions and other interim orders.
  • Acted in investigations/inquiries into fraud and corruption by employees including where the FCPA applied.

  • Acted as counsel in the Court of Appeal in Telekom Malaysia Kawasan Utara v Krishnan Kutty Sanguni Nair [2002] 3 CLJ 314 which decided the standard of proof to be applied in unjust dismissal claims.

  • Advised local and international clients to crisis manage issues for companies in Malaysia in respect of senior management misconduct, acting in excess of authority and other wrongdoing and removal of senior personnel, including in the context of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  

  • Advised on employment aspects in mergers and acquisitions and takeovers.
  • Acted as Counsel in the Court of Appeal in a matter involving an important point of law about the legal rights of an employee after privatization.
  • Acted as Counsel in the Court of Appeal and as junior counsel in the Federal Court in the landmark case of Padiberas Nasional Bhd. V Zainon Ahmad [2011] 8 CLJ 38 on the effect of a voluntary separation scheme on the rights and obligations of parties under the contract of employment.
  • Acted in various claims for unjust dismissal involving senior management including claims of abuse of position, sexual harassment and breaches of duty.
  • Acted as counsel in a claim by 292 employees of fraud, misrepresentation and conspiracy on the part of a corporation in a VSS exercise.
  • Advised on various industrial relations matters, issues relating to trades union competency and locus standi of trade union to represent employees, including as junior in the landmark case of Kesatuan Kebangsaan Wartawan Malaysia v Syarikat Pemandangan Sinar Sdn. Bhd. on the effect of a business transfer on a collective agreement.
  • Acted in various contractual claims involving employees including in Abracadabra Speculative Ventures Inc. v Colin David Patterson [2014] 1 LNS 1491 which involved the interpretation of a contract in relation to a bonus claim.
  • Acted in various actions involving breach of confidentiality and tortious acts by employees.
  • Acted as Counsel in a claim against a statutory body on the legality of the appointment of a senior employee (High Court decision reported as Kesatuan Pekerja-pekerja Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka v Lembaga Pengelola Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka [2010] LNS 431).
  • Acted in various judicial review applications involving challenges against decisions of the Industrial Court or the Minister of Human Resources, including in Hasni Hassan v Menteri Sumber Manusia [2013] 6 CLJ 74; Germax Sdn. Bhd. V Menteri Sumber Manusia [2002] 5 CLJ 466.
  • Acted as counsel in the Court of Appeal case of Germanischer Lloyd Industrial Services Asia Sdn Bhd v Raza Amin [2022] 10 CLJ 333 which upheld the decision of the Industrial Court that the constructive dismissal of the Country Manager due to widespread inflating of timesheet by his organisation was with just cause or excuse.

  • Diploma in International Arbitration, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (2012)
  • Advocate and Solicitor, High Court of Malaya (1995)
  • LL.B (Hons), Adelaide (1994)
  • Bachelor of Commerce, Adelaide (1993)
Professional Affiliations:
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Member, Shipping & Admiralty Law Committee, Bar Council
  • Member, Transport & Infrastructure Committee, Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Member, Malaysian Institute of Taxation
  • Panel member, Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC)
  • Life member of Ikhtisas Kelautan Malaysia (Association of Malaysia’s Maritime Professionals)
  • Jurisdiction Council Member for Malaysia & Vice-Chair, Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law Committee, Inter-Pacific Bar Association

  • Author, Malaysian Court Practice  - Appellate Court: Courts of Judicature Act 1964 (update), Rules of Court of Appeal and Rules of the Federal Court 1995 (update) (2023)
  • Author, Malaysian Chapter in “Remedies for International Sellers of Goods – 2nd Edition”, Juris Publishing (2012).
  • Author, Malaysian Chapter in Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets in Employment Law, American Bar Association (2011).
  • Contributing Editor, Malaysian Civil Procedure, Sweet & Maxwell Asia.
  • Author of Halsbury’s Laws of Malaysia Employment (Original & 2007 Reissue) and Industrial Relations (Original & 2007 Reissue)

  • Recognised as a recommended ‘Global Leader’ in the Who’s Who Legal: Transport – Shipping 2020 - 2023
  • Listed as a "Leading Individual" for Shipping by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020 – 2023
  • Listed as a "Leading Individual" for Labor and Employment by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2023
  • Ranked in Chambers Asia-Pacific from 2018 – 2023 for Shipping
  • Ranked by Chambers Asia-Pacific from 2018 – 2023 for Employment and Industrial Relations
  • Listed as a “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2018 – 2022
  • Listed as a “Leading Lawyer by Asialaw Profiles 2022/23 Edition for Labour and Employment
  • Listed as a “Market-Leading Lawyer” by Asialaw Profiles in 2018 and 2019 for labour and employment, shipping, maritime and aviation practice areas