Once colonised by the British, Malaysia inherited the British political and legal system, as well as written and judge-made laws. We trace the development of the law on the shareholders’ oppression remedy in Malaysia, and compare it with the development in England. We found that the influence of English case laws is still very pervasive in the courtroom. The reasons for this includes, among others, the use of a company law statute based on the British statute, the reliance
of English case laws and other legal materials, the legal training of members in the legal profession, as well as the use of the English legal tradition and the English language in the Malaysian courtroom. We conclude that despite a similarity in the written law, the sharing of a common legal heritage and a propensity by Malaysian lawyers and judges to use English laws, the laws as applied by the courts in Malaysia is not identical to the law in England. There was a desire to keep up with
English developments, but in the whole the Malaysian courts have not been able to keep pace. In the courtroom, the lack of resources and expertise are probably the main factors contributing to the underdevelopment of the law. The propensity to rely on the reforms in other countries with little emphasis to the peculiarity in the local environment has undermined law reform. We argue that an effective law-making process and legal institutions are as important as the law itself.