MyCC to amend competition law to drive innovation

The agency will also focus on its investigation on bid-rigging which always occurs in a tender exercise


MALAYSIA Competition Commission (MyCC) is suggesting structural policies to the government to facilitate the adoption of e-commerce strategies, particularly by small and medium enterprises, taking the lessons from the pandemic years.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated e-commerce and encouraged new opportunities for emerging markets, and the agency under the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs is focusing on mitigating this situation and providing more improvements on matters relating to the sector.

“We let the other ministries somehow issue a new policy such as the industrial policy that can support the economy. Our role is to ensure that the industrial policy does not cause any anti-competitive effects in the market,” MyCC CEO Iskandar Ismail (picture) told The Malaysian Reserve.

Concurrently, MyCC is responsible for reviewing, addressing the issue and ensuring that it is aligned with Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint.

“Whatever kind of enforcement that we are going to carry out, the main objective is to promote innovation, whereby it must not stifle innovation but instead promote the innovation as it is the most important part,” he further said.

For 2022, MyCC is focusing on three plans namely to make an amendment to the competition law which has started in 2019 and is expected to be completed by this year.

MyCC will also focus on its investigation on bid-rigging which always occurs in a tender exercise, where a buyer is cheated from obtaining goods or services at the best possible price or value proposition.

MyCC said it identified concerns related to competition due to the shift in purchasing habits of Malaysian consumers towards digital and e-commerce platforms.

“The issue of the digital economy came up during the Covid-19 as the government restrict physical movement. So, there is a rapid growth of usage of the digital platform during that time. Thus, when people resorted to that area to transact and communicate, somehow there are several issues that came up,” Iskandar noted.

The two most frequent issues raised during the Movement Control Order are the food deliveries and marketplace.

According to MyCC Market Review 2020, Malaysia’s e-commerce segment is one of the fastest-growing among South-East Asian countries, which almost 50% of the population are online shoppers.

“So along the way, of course, there are challenges as it involved new technologies and the new terms and conditions being imposed upon them,” said Iskandar.

He said many parties are involved in the food deliveries business, such as vendors, consumers and riders.

“So, there are many layers of investigation process — taking statements, going through the documents and desktop research. We conduct more analysis of the documents and information, as well as the intelligence and surveillance on our own,” he said.

Presented at the OECD’s sixth meeting of High-Level Representatives of Asia-Pacific (APAC) Competition Authorities in December 2021, Iskandar also said that every country in APAC regions faced different challenges and approaches in regulations.

“Every country have different needs, different requirements for their citizens and enterprises. So the challenges are a bit different, but there are similar traits of elements implemented due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.

He cited Singapore as an example that required competitors to temporarily collaborate to sustain or improve the supply of essential goods and services.

“We (MyCC) did not introduce any kind of similar guidelines like Singapore. What we did instead is monitoring the situation,” he said.