Welcoming Remarks By The Hon. Dato’ Hasan Bin Malek, Minister Of Domestic Trade, Co-Operatives & Consumerism

Welcoming Remarks by The Hon.
Dato’ Hasan Bin Malek,
Minister Of Domestic Trade, Co-Operatives & Consumerism
1st MyCC Competition Law Conference, New Standards for Business in Malaysia,
KLCC, Kuala Lumpur
Date: 25 Sep 2013

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,
YAB Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin Haji Mohd Yassin;
Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Siti Norma Yaakob;
Chairman of the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC),
Y.Bhg. Dato’ Saripuddin Kasim;
Secretary General of the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives & Consumerism cum Member of the Commission
Distinguished Members of the Commission;
Madam Shila Dorai Raj;
Chief Executive Officer of MyCC,
Distinguished Speakers, Members of the media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good morning to all and Salam Satu Malaysia.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome our special guest today, YAB Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin Haji Mohd.Yassin. May I also extend a warm welcome to all present here today, both foreign and local to this inaugural conference.

Malaysia has come a long way from the time the policy on competition began to be deliberated. Almost 3 years ago, to be precise, in April 2010, history was made when after almost 19 years of deliberation the Competition Act 2010 was passed in Parliament. Today we have an entire eco-system of competition established, the Competition Commission and the Competition Appeal Tribunal. The seriousness of the government in allocating resources for the establishment of these institutions clearly shows that we are intent on creating a competitive environment which will drive the nation towards higher growth and innovation. As we know, it is an undisputed fact that in principle, healthy competition produces the best overall economic results.

As we know, Malaysia has long been poised for the introduction of this law. The new approach for Malaysia’s economic development as outlined in the New Economic Model, emphasises a competitive environment. It states that where previously it was dominant state participation in the economy – through large direct public investment in selected economic sectors, now the new approach is private sector led growth – to promote competition across and within sectors to revive private investment and market dynamism. Emphasising this while tabling the Tenth Malaysia Plan, the Hon. Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak sent out a crystal clear message on the need to have a competitive economic environment when he said – “Healthy competition is needed to make the economy more efficient and dynamic.  For this, the Competition Law will be introduced to provide a regulatory framework against market manipulation and cartel practices that may affect market efficiency.”

Therefore, the theme of this conference “New Standards for Business in Malaysia” is timely in bringing into focus issues that businesses need to be reminded of and their rights and obligations under the Competition Act 2010.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the Minister of Domestic Trade Co-operatives and Consumerism, I would like to reitterate the political will and seriousness of the current Government to continuously improve market efficiency. We recognise that competition has a positive influence, not only on a country’s economy as a whole but more importantly on the welfare of consumers.

Even though the Competition Act 2010 is not a form of consumer protection legislation, we should not underestimate the benefit that this law can offer to an ultimate consumer.  The Act clearly provides in its preamble that protecting consumer interest will be the ultimate objective of the law and here consumer interest means more competitive prices, better quality goods and services and the availability of better choices.

As we start to recognise the strong link between competition and consumer issues – and that  they are essentially two sides of the same coin – it is advantageous that both consumer and competition related matters are being managed hand in hand. The former by the respective Divisions within the Ministry and the latter under the purview of the MyCC which is an agency housed under the Ministry. In this regard, it is vital to recognise the necessity to address related issues in tandem. It is also imperative that as policy makers we give businesses the best conditions to compete and consumers the best conditions to make good choices.

We must evaluate our current regulations to see if it limits competition. Opening up markets has in many cases generated wealth and given a wide range of benefits to consumers. Good examples can be found in  in the telecommunications and distributive trade sectors. Today we clearly see the positive results of healthy competition. Many new players have emerged and prices continue to be competitive. And the competition is growing. I have no doubts that there are many other markets where positive effects can be reached this way.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s been 2 years and 5 months since the establishment of the MyCC. Despite its relatively new existence I’m proud to be able to comment that the MyCC’s stance on infringements of the Act is being strongly felt by the local and international business community through its final and proposed decisions on the Cameron Highlands Floriculturists Association case and Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia case respectively. These have sent strong signals to the business community and the message that enterprises need to be aware of their obligations under the Act and that compliance to the law is a key issue to be addressed.

Distinguished Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The conference has been designed to explore many of the issues that are yet to be deliberated on by the MyCC. The experts gathered here today will undoubtedly provide insights and views to many of the concerns that are bound to arise as a result of the new obligations under the Competition Act 2010. I am confident that this conference will be fruitful and contribute to a better understanding of the law. Once again I would like to convey my deepest appreciation to YAB Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin Haji Mohd Yassin for officiating this event and I wish all of you a warm welcome.

Thank you.

Wabillahitaufikwalhidayah, wassalamualikum w.b.t.