By LYDIA NATHAN / Pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
MyEG Services Bhd and Pharmaniaga Bhd are among the companies being scrutinised by the federal government for potential monopoly in their respective fields of business.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (picture) said besides the two public-listed firms, a special Cabinet committee chaired by Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali is also studying the alleged monopoly by Padiberas Nasional Bhd and Puspakom Sdn Bhd.
The committee was formed last year by the Pakatan Harapan government in an attempt to tackle the rising cost of living.
According to Saifuddin Nasution, the Cabinet committee will study all services or businesses that have the nature of a monopoly.
“Monopoly is not necessarily bad, it comes from a certain player being dominant in the market.
“It only becomes bad when it puts pressure on competition, or marks up and manipulates prices, or even tries to control the supply,” Saifuddin Nasution told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
As such, he said the government will consider a few crucial criterias in deciding the fate of these companies.
“We need to consider if the monopoly came from a policy and if it’s still there, then (whether) it is needed any longer.
“Also, when a party earned the right to be a monopoly in that area, what sort of investments did they make? These companies often make large investments in terms of equipment or human resources,” he said.
Saifuddin Nasution said if a business or service comes to an end, there will be a definite impact on the overall industry, including a crash in supply.
“At the end of the day, quality cannot be compromised. All decisions and policies must be made without compromising government commitment overall,” he added.
The minister said a final report from the committee will be tabled to the Cabinet for a decision on the matter.
“The responsibility will be to discuss, debate and see what recommendations we can come up with.
“We will study all options, though there is no timeline in place for a report to be submitted to the Cabinet.”
To date, Saifuddin Nasution said chief secretaries of ministries relevant to the four companies have presented their arguments to the committee.
MyEG shares were down four sen yesterday to close at RM1.42 per share on news that the committee views it as a monopoly.
MyEG was the most actively traded stock yesterday, with a total of 138.21 million shares traded at closing.
Pharmaniaga saw its shares fall eight sen to RM2.15, and was one of Bursa Malaysia’s biggest decliners.