THE RISE AND RISE OF THE ASIAN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION CENTRE

The Asian International Arbitration Centre is the leading edge in Asian and Malaysian International arbitration.

[1] Why you should conduct your arbitration at Asian International Arbitration Centre, KL

The Asian International Arbitration Centre is the leading edge in Asian and Malaysian International arbitration.

It is located in one of the most iconic heritage buildings of Malaysia – the Bangunan Sulaiman at Kuala Lumpur.

This beautiful and huge structure sits beside and opposite two equally conspicuous colonial buildings: the Old Central Railway Station and the colonial-era Majestic Hotel. 

[2] AIAC provides a wide range of Alternative Dispute Resolution products

AIAC provides state-of-the-art facilities: that too at an affordable price.

It houses 24 Hearing Rooms, two huge Hearing Rooms, a Business Centre, and an Arbitrator’s Lounge.

Electronic and internet speeds are super-fast.

Parties and counsel have the option to conduct hearings physically, virtually, or in a hybrid format.

AIAC has a huge, world-class specialised Alternate Dispute Resolution and Construction Law Library. This is open to the public.

There are ample free parking spaces for visitors.

It is no surprise, therefore, that the Global Arbitration Review has given the top rank to AIAC’s facilities.

My own view is that it would be cheaper for parties from India and China to take a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and arbitrate their dispute at the AIAC as compared to the costs of even arbitrating in their own countries! Imagine that!

[3] Beyond that, several factors place AIAC as Asia’s Arbitration Focal Point

For a start, what about the fantastic Malaysian cuisine?

Second, consider the 24-hour effective transportation system.

Third, the Malaysian judiciary is respectful of arbitral decisions.

Fourth, the government is supportive of arbitration and arbitrators.

Fifth, think about how cheap it is to arbitrate in Malaysia. Legal costs are cheap.

The cost of five-star hotels is far below that of other international capitals.

The weather is excellent.

These are the major incentives to arbitrate at AIAC, Malaysia.

I once participated as counsel in a huge arbitration. It was at a neighbouring country.

Despite all the hype, seating arrangements for over 15 legal counsel was cramped. Food outlets were too far away. One had to take the LRT to get lunch.

Contrast that with AIAC.

You step out of the AIAC, and there is world-class food available just across the road, at Majestic Hotel.

[4] Now, for a bit of history

The AIAC was previously known as the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (“KLRCA”).

In 2018, on its 40th anniversary, KLRCA changed its name to the AIAC.

The AIAC was established on 17th April 1978 as an independent, supra-national arbitral institution with its own juridical personality.

It is set up under the auspices of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation (or ‘AALCO’ in short).

This rebranding was reflective of AIAC’s international standing, the broad sweep of its services, and its proven ability to handle international disputes.

The AIAC is accorded certain privileges and immunities under the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1992 for the purposes of executing its functions.

This one feature sets the AIAC apart from other arbitral institutes in the region, because, under the law, it is an independent international organisation.

So, international parties can confidently arbitrate their disputes at the AIAC.

The AIAC is presently led by its Director, Datuk Sundra Rajoo.

Datuk Sundra brings with him a wealth of expertise and experience.

He was pivotal in promoting Malaysia as a major arbitration hub during his previous eight-year stint, up until 2018, as Director of the AIAC.

Sundra has also authored several practitioners’ texts in international and local arbitration.

On 16th March 2023, the Government of Malaysia in consultation with AALCO re-appointed Sundra as its Director.

On his return, Sundra was asked to re-establish AIAC’s strong international presence in the Alternative Dispute Resolution community.

Sundra has often stated that AIAC is committed to capacity building exercises that will benefit the International Arbitration community.

I hope this has given you a brief insight into the crucial role the AIAC plays in establishing Malaysia as the preferred venue for Alternative Dispute Resolution.

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