Grab-Uber merger probe to conclude soon

MyCC investigation is expected to wrap up by end of December


The Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) investigation into the merger between Grab and Uber, which allegedly led to Grab having a monopoly in the country’s e-hailing business, is expected to wrap up by end of December.

MyCC CEO Iskandar Ismail said the commission has had talks with Grab several times to reach to the advanced stage that it is currently in.

“We expect to conclude the investigation and come up with a resolution and measures before year-end,” he said at the memorandum of understanding signing ceremony between MyCC and Universiti Utara Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Iskandar said MyCC could not stop the merger because it does not have sufficient power as the competition enforcement bodies in Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam.

“What we can do instead is to understand and take action on parties abusing the monopoly status and dominant position,” he added.

In July, MyCC was reported to have conducted its preliminary action and began its discussions with Uber and Grab on March 30, four days after the two companies announced their merger position.

The competition enforcement body took action against Grab under the Competition Act 2010.

On March 26, Grab announced its acquisition of Uber’s South-East Asia operations which spanned across Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Following the acquisition, Uber was handed a 27.5% stake in Grab. Singapore’s Competition and Consumer Commission (CCCS) has found the merger between the two bodies infringing Section 54 of the Competition Act which deals with mergers that lessen its competition.

CCCS fined the ride-hailing company S$6.42 million (RM19.57 million) and Uber S$6.58 million over the agreement, and announced measures to address competition concerns.

It was also reported that Grab’s entry into the nation was deemed as “disruptive”, having stirred the taxi-heavy public transport marketplace, which resulted in taxi groups repeatedly demanding for the government to ban e-hailing.

Meanwhile, Minister Of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution said the readiness of including competition law component in academics for tertiary education is very important.

As such, Saifuddin said the country needs to get ready to analyse and further develop its competition law in order to tackle more high-profile cases to prevent and resolve future market monopoly.