Partner, Dispute Resolution Division

Tel: 603 - 2081 3999 ext 734
Fax: 603 - 2094 3211
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Siva Kumar Kanagasabai was admitted to the Malaysian Bar in March 1995. He was made a partner of SKRINE in January 2002.

He is currently the Head of SKRINE’s Employment Practice Group and also the Head of the Shipping Practice Group. Apart from Employment and Shipping, Kumar has a broad commercial litigation practice and is a regular trainer in the Bar Council’s advocacy training programme for lawyers.

He handles both contentious and non-contentious employment law issues. He has also acted as Counsel in judicial review hearings, appeals from the Labour Court and conducted trials in the High Court as well as on appeals to the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court. Kumar is named in Chambers Asia Pacific 2009 - 2017 as a leading practitioner in Employment law. In 2011, he was appointed by the Malaysian Government to be a member of PEMANDU’s Human Capital Lab on reforms to labour law. Kumar was recently named the ILO Client Choice Award for Employment/Labour Practitioner of the Year (Malaysia) 2012, 2013 and 2014. Client feedback about Kumar can be found at:

His broad commercial experience includes general monetary claims, insolvency, company law, insurance and defamation.

He also has wide experience in shipping and maritime matters including handling cargo claims, the arrest of vessels, vessel damage claims arising from negligent loading, charter party disputes, claims against freight forwarders, dealing with legal issues arising from seafarers contracts, enforcement of debenture holders’ rights against vessels, ship mortgage defaults, contracts for the sale of goods/commodities and representing parties in bunker supply contract disputes. Kumar is named as a leading shipping lawyer in Chambers Asia-Pacific for 2014 - 2017.

Further Details

Areas of Practice

Administrative Law, Bankruptcy/Insolvency, Contracts, Corporate & Commercial Disputes, Employment & Industrial Relations, Shipping & Maritime

Professional Affiliations

  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Member of Bar Council’s Shipping & Admiralty Law Committee
  • Member of the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Human Resources Committee and Transport & Infrastructure Committee
  • Member, Malaysian Institute of Taxation
  • Panel member of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration
  • Vice-Chair, Employment & Immigration Law Committee, Inter-Pacific Bar Association


  • Advocate & Solicitor, High Court of Malaya
  • Bachelor of Laws, Adelaide
  • Bachelor of Commerce, Adelaide
  • Diploma in International Arbitration, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators



  • Acted for a telecommunications GLC in a ground-breaking case where precedent was established that the balance of probabilities constituted the standard of proof in an unjust dismissal claim.
  • Managed and defended claims arising from the unsanctioned issuance of multibillion dollar bond.
  • Engaged on a numerous occasions to crisis manage issues for companies in Malaysia in respect of the misconduct, wrongdoing and removal of managing directors and CEOs including occasions when the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was applied.
  • Engaged by many companies to advice on all employment aspects of takeover of business and in local incorporation.
  • Acted as Counsel in Court of Appeal in a matter involving important point of law about the legal rights of an employee after privatization.
  • Acted as Counsel in Court of Appeal and as junior counsel in the Federal Court in a landmark case on the effect of a voluntary separation scheme on the post-termination rights and obligations of the parties under the contract of employment.
  • Acted in claim against statutory body on legality of appointment of senior employee.
  • Acted in various claims for unjust dismissal involving senior management employees.
  • Acted as counsel in claim by 292 employees of fraud, misrepresentation and conspiracy in a VSS exercise.
  • Acted for clients in various trade disputes, issues relating union competency and locus standi of trade union to represent employees.

Shipping and International Trade

  • Acted for cargo owners and shipowners in multi-million dollar cross-border cargo damage claims.
  • Acted as counsel for ship owners in claims against port authorities for damage to a vessel during loading.
  • Engaged by charterer in a charter party dispute with the ship owner.
  • Acted as counsel in multimillion dollar claim for alleged breach of bunker supply agreement as well as in other bunker supply claims.
  • Advised ship owners on termination and the hiring of seafarers.
  • Acted for receivers to recover charged vessel.
  • Engaged in claims by and against freight forwarders.
  • Acted in multimillion dollar shipbuilding contract and joint venture dispute.
  • Acted in arresting and setting aside arrest of vessels in Malaysian ports in various types of maritime claims and for enforcement of ship mortgage.
  • Gave expert evidence on Malaysian law on ship arrest in an LMAA international arbitration whose seat of arbitration was in Singapore.
  • Acted for a chargee in recovery of goods which were shipped and detained at an overseas port.
  • Acted for various banks in various enforcement of ship mortgage actions.
  • Acted for mortgagees in priority claims over shipbuilder’s assets.
  • Acted for ship owner in alleged breach of UN sanctions against Iran.
  • Acted for buyer in an international arbitration involving the import of commodities.

Other Experience

  • Engaged in insurance type claim by member against mutual organisation on right to seek support.
  • Acted as counsel in land dispute where challenge was made on indefeasibility of registered title and which involved allegations of illegality and forgery.
  • Obtaining vesting orders for business transfers during local incorporation exercise.
  • Acted for Defendant in a securities and margin financing claim in excess of RM600 million.
  • Acted for the Bar Council in several legal profession disciplinary cases.
  • Advising receivers on recovery of assets in insolvency.
  • Acted for bank, receivers and liquidators in priority claim brought by alleged equitable mortgagee.
  • Acting for public body in resisting injunction in aid of arbitration and in the domestic arbitration involving multi-million dollar claims involving a dispute over a concession agreement.


Authored the following chapters/books:

  • Halsbury’s Laws of Malaysia – Industrial Law (2007), Lexis Nexis
  • Halsbury’s Laws of Malaysia – Labour Law (2007), Lexis Nexis
  • Malaysia Court Forms – Employment Law edition together with Selvamalar Alagaratnam, Lexis Nexis
  • “Law of Dismissal”, CCH Publication, together with Nallini Pathmanathan and & Selvamalar Alagaratnam (2003)
  • Authored Employment Law Practice in Malaysia Chapter for Employment Law Client Strategies in the Asia Pacific (Inside the Minds series), Aspatore (2009)
  • Authored Legal Guide to Employee Disputes with Selvamalar Alagaratnam (2010)
  • Author of Malaysian Chapter in Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets in Employment Law published by American Bar Association (2011)
  • Author of National Report for Malaysia to the Working Session on Maritime Arbitration, Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats Congress, Amsterdam 2011
  • Author of Malaysian Chapter in “Remedies for International Sellers of Goods – 2nd Edition” – Juris Publishing (2012).
  • Contributing Editor – Malaysian Civil Procedure 2013 (Sweet & Maxwell Asia)



IFLR 1000 2019 Rankings


IFLR 1000 2019 has ranked Skrine as a Tier 1 firm in four practice areas. In addition, eight of our lawyers were listed among the leading lawyers.


Asialaw Profiles 2019 Rankings


Asialaw Profiles 2019 has ranked Skrine as an ‘Outstanding’ firm in seven industry and practice areas. In addition, 10 of our lawyers were listed among the leading lawyers.


Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2018


We are pleased to announce that our firm is recognised as a Top Tier Firm in the inaugural Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2018. Some of our partners were also listed in the rankings.



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