Investigating cartel activities in the food and agriculture sector is a priority of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living (KPDN) this year, said its minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub.
He said cartel activities have been taking advantage of the people and the government for too long and it is time to stop the immoral activities.
Salahuddin said the Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) has implemented various efforts and actions against cartels and monopolies involving financial penalties worth approximately RM175 million.
“This achievement must continue. Cartels and monopolies cannot be allowed to exist because they interfere with competition in the market for the benefit of business companies, thus affecting the cost of living.
“Therefore I urge MyCC to intensify its efforts in eliminating these activities and as a member of the Cabinet, I assure that the government will give full support to MyCC to eliminate, or reduce the power of cartels and monopolies,” he said.
He said this in his speech when he inaugurated the Second Professor Richard Whish Lecture Series here today.
Salahuddin said MyCC will also focus on establishing merger control enforcement, as it is currently absent from competition law in Malaysia.
He said the enforcement of merger controls is important to ensure consumers are not affected by new monopolies resulting from mergers between major players in the industry.
“We have seen the impact of large (characteristic) mergers around the world and in this beloved country. We need to remember that Malaysia is a trading country with a growing economy. We cannot have market concentration, especially in important areas such as services, retail, food and the agricultural sector.
“If not controlled, mergers will also be used to disguise the formation of cartels. Because of this, MyCC has my full support in this matter and together, we will ensure that the amendments to the Competition Act 2010 and the Competition Commission Act 2010 are tabled in Parliament as soon as possible,” he said.
In order to ensure that MyCC remains relevant to the current and future trends of the digital economy, Salahuddin said the regulatory body will soon conduct a market study to identify the real causes in the existing digital market that threaten competition.
“It will look at the market structure including the management of companies, suppliers and consumers in the supply chain and make appropriate recommendations..” he said.