Works underway to make e-commerce opportunities available to all

KKMM and all the related agencies and ministries are looking into ways to further enhance the country’s Internet facilities

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government is working at improving the Internet facilities nationwide to ensure e-commerce opportunities will be accessible to all.

“I can say that the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM), as well as agencies and ministries related are looking into improving the infrastructure so that in due time, the entire population would have the opportunity (for e-commerce),” Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said on Wednesday.

“We have to admit that there are rural areas, specifically in Sabah, Sarawak and even here in the mainland where the Internet facilities are not yet provided for. So, this is among the basic challenges that we are looking into,” he said at the release of Market Review on Service Sector in Malaysia for Wholesale and Retail for Selected Products under the Competition Act 2010.

“Now, we just need to look into how to enhance its potential further, and we cannot wait until the whole country has caught up because a gap is there,” he added.

However, with the rise of e-commerce that has become a disruption to the traditional arrangements, the market review report also addressed the challenges expressed by retailers.

It noted that most retailers expressed their grievances over e-commerce platforms that have gained more traction due to price differences.

“Generally, the retail price of some products sold online is much lower than the ones sold in physical stores, especially in cases where manufacturers themselves have used the e-commerce platforms to reach the mass market.

“From the survey conducted, it was found that the majority of the micro and small companies solely depend on brick and mortar stores to conduct their business with less than 7% using online channels for distribution,” it noted.

Other issues reported in the review regarding competition include high cost of operation, which affects retailers, back margin and trading to suppliers, and the difficulties in finding local labour for all retailers, wholesalers and distributors.

The market review also suggested some preliminary recommendations, including the facilitation of structural reforms to ensure efficiency and resiliency, fostering a competitive environment towards industry’s best practices and establishing progressive policies and regulations with long-term positive impact.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) CEO Iskandar Ismail (picture) said the recommendations highlighted are significant to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden and bureaucracy.

“This is done to encourage the creation and growth of the business sector in Malaysia, particularly in the wholesale and retail trade industry,” he said.

According to him, over 90% of the consumers’ complaints highlighted in the report were related to food and beverage (F&B), followed by clothing, which received about 4% in 2019.

“Often the complaints are regarding the price shift, but rarely do we think that the possibility of the price hike is due to the cartels, which is where we need to watch out,” he said.

The market review, which can be viewed at https://mycc.gov.my, is set to be a vital reference for policymakers following the government’s attempt to tackle market-driven and regulatory-driven issues in the service sector.