Contributed by Anand Raj, Member, Bar Council Competition Law Subcommittee of the Corporate and Commercial Law Committee
We are pleased to provide you with updates from the competition law conference jointly organised by Bar Council Malaysia and the Malaysia Competition Commission (“MyCC”), which was held at the Bar Council Raja Aziz Addruse Auditorium in Kuala Lumpur on 27 Nov 2018. The topic of the conference was the “Challenges in Enforcing Competition Law in Malaysia and Possible Reform”.
The conference was attended by, among others, the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, YB Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail; the new Chairman of MyCC, YB Dato’ Seri Mohd Hishamudin Md Yunus; and the new CEO of MyCC, Mr Iskandar Ismail.
The Malaysian Bar’s position was articulated by its Vice–President, Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor in his Welcoming Address, when he said:
The Malaysian Bar is firmly committed to promoting the ideals and principles of competition law and cooperating with MyCC in order to do so. We believe that more can certainly be done to improve and enhance the law and practice of this regime in Malaysia. This includes, among others:
addressing and where necessary dismantling artificial monopolies and dominances, where they did not come into existence through the entrepreneurship and innovation of those entities; the introduction of a merger control regime so that the ideals and principles of competition law are not defeated by unregulated combinations which result in a substantial lessening of competition, if not worse; and that competitive neutrality should be the guiding principle in order to give a level playing field to all enterprises and players.
Please click here to view the full speech.
One of the most important developments to emerge from the conference was MyCC’s commitment to introducing a merger control regime in Malaysia. To quote from the introductory remarks by MyCC Chairman Dato’ Seri Mohd Hishamudin Md Yunus: “Based on the regulatory gap… MyCC aims to harmonise the domestic economy’s ecosystem by incorporating merger control in the Competition Act 2010.” Please click here to view his speech.
This commitment was reiterated by the CEO of MyCC, Mr Iskandar Ismail during the panel on merger control, which was moderated by Mr Devanesan Evanson, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director of Minority Shareholders Watch Group, and also featured Dr Wan Khatina Nawawi, Director of Economics of the Malaysian Aviation Commission (“MAVCOM”), and Mr Anand Raj, a member of the Bar Council’s Competition Law Subcommittee, as panellists. MyCC’s CEO stated that MyCC will hold a public consultation on the details of the proposed procedures, and also indicated MyCC’s willingness to work with the Bar Council in this regard.
A merger control regime will significantly impact competition law, corporate law and legal practice in general. It is certainly of note that there is a merger control regime in almost every jurisdiction in the world where there is competition law. It is high time that Malaysia introduces a general merger control regime in the Competition Act 2010.
Please click here to view the programme and details concerning the speakers, panellists and moderators for the conference.