Zaid Ibrahim & Co has opened an office in Singapore, and in so doing has become the first Malaysian firm to be issued a foreign licence in the region

“The Singapore office will enable us to offer our specialist legal capabilities in infrastructure, privatisation, communications and e-commerce, Islamic banking and oil and gas for clients operating in and from Singapore,” the firm said in a statement.

The firm, the largest in Malaysia, has strong connections with the Malaysian government. Founding partner Zaid Ibrahim is also an official in the United Malays National Organisation, the country's ruling political party.

However, some in the market believe the opening is a prelude to bigger things. “Apparently it's here to go into an alliance with a large local firm,” said a source.