DONOVAN CHEAH

CONTACT US

T: +603 2856 9728
F: +603 2726 2725
E: donovan@dnh.com.my

Donovan leads the firm’s employment law and dispute resolution practice. His work in the profession has been recognised by publications such as the Legal 500, Chambers & Partners, Asialaw and Benchmark Litigation. The Legal 500 Asia Pacific has named him as a recommended lawyer for labour and employment in their 2017, 2018 and 2019 rankings, where he is described as “understanding, efficient and direct“ and “the name to note“. Chambers & Partners lists him as an up and coming practitioner, and Benchmark Litigation ranked him as a Dispute Resolution Star for labour and employment.

Donovan assists corporate clients on various employment law issues, including drafting of employment contracts and handbooks, advising on workforce reductions, termination of employees and compliance issues, and representing them in employment litigation such as unfair dismissal claims and judicial review proceedings involving the decisions of the Industrial Court or the Minister of Human Resources.

Donovan also has extensive experience in dispute resolution and has represented international corporations in a wide range of matters, including commercial and civil litigation, international arbitrations, intellectual property disputes and construction adjudication.

He was the former regional legal counsel for South East Asia of PPG Industries, one of the largest paints and coatings manufacturers in the world.  In this role, he oversaw the organisation’s in-house legal services in South East Asia, supporting business units in the region across 6 countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Prior to his appointment at PPG Industries, Donovan was an associate in the dispute resolution and intellectual property practice group of Wong & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie.

Donovan is also a registered foreign lawyer with the Singapore International Commercial Court. He is a Fellow at the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He also sits on the Malaysian Bar’s Professional Standards and Development Committee and the Industrial and Employment Law Committee.

  • Notable Transactions

    Employment Law & Industrial Relations

    • Representing various corporate clients (including multinationals in the telecommunications and software industry and chemicals industry) in unfair dismissal claims filed by former employees
    • Advising multinational corporations in various industries (such as information technology and manufacturing) on restructuring and redundancy exercises
    • Advising a multinational manufacturing company on compliance issues relating to employer’s statutory obligations under the Employees Provident Fund Act
    • Representing a multinational shipping services company in a civil suit against a former employee for breach of contract and breach of duties
    • Advising corporate clients on disciplinary/termination procedure for employees alleged to be involved in gross misconduct (eg: fraud, conflict of interest)
    • Advising various corporate clients, including a multinational IT training company, a manufacturer of aircraft maintenance facilities, a property management company and local start-ups on Malaysian employment law and preparing employment contracts for their workforce in Malaysia

    Dispute Resolution

    • Representing a construction company in a civil suit for breach of contract amounting to RM7 million
    • Representing a global investment fund in an international arbitration involving claims of AUD$6 million
    • Representing a main contractor in an arbitration involving the construction of a multistorey retail outlet and car park building
    • Representing an international oil and gas pipeline construction company in international arbitration for a claim of US$14.5 million
    • Representing a Taiwanese manufacturer in a tenancy dispute involving industrial land in the Penang Free Trade Zone and obtaining a favourable judgment
    • Representing a multinational steel-making company in a civil action for a claim of approximately RM1 million
    • Representing the main contractor in adjudication proceedings for a claim of approximately RM1 million arising from the construction of a commercial outlet.
  • Recognition

    • Chambers Asia Pacific

    – (2019) “well versed with technology and able to respond quickly”

    • Legal 500 Asia Pacific

    – (2019) “the key contact” – recommended lawyer for labour and employment

    – (2018) “the name to note” – recommended lawyer for labour and employment, corporate and M&A

    – (2017) “understanding, efficient and direct” – recommended lawyer for labour and employment

    • Asialaw Profiles

    – (2019) “very professional…”; “knowledgeable, fast and able to provide all-rounded views for consideration.”

    • Benchmark Litigation

    – (2019) “extremely knowledgeable and shows business depth”; “responsive, proactive and leads well”

    – Dispute Resolution Star & Tier 2 for Labour and Employment

    – (2018) “very thorough and excellent”; “sharp in understanding the issues” – Tier 2 for Labour and Employment

    • Asian Legal Business

    – (2018) 40 Under 40

  • Qualifications

    • Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya (2007)
    • Certificate in Legal Practice (2006)
    • LLB (Hons), University of London (2005)
    • Registered Foreign Lawyer (Full Registration), Singapore International Commercial Court
    • FSIArb, Singapore Institute of Arbitrators
    • FMIArb, Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators
    • FAIADR, Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution
    • MCIArb, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
    • Trade Mark Agent, Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia
  • Memberships and Other Experience

    • Fellow, Singapore Institute of Arbitrators
    • Fellow, Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators
    • Fellow, Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution
    • Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
    • Board Member, Wilson Global Initiative, an international non-profit dedicated to stopping illiteracy
    • Member of the Malaysian Bar Council’s Professional Standards and Development Committee (2015 – present)
    • Member of the Malaysian Bar Council’s Industrial and Employment Law Committee (2017 – present)
    • Member, National Young Lawyers Committee (2007 – 2011)