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26 September 2019
REGULATION

Malaysian watchdog steps up probe into Singapore’s Grab

The investigation follows multiple complaints starting from last year accusing Grab of monopolistic practises after it bought Uber Technologies’ Southeast Asian operations.

BLOOMBERG/BRENT LEWIN


Malaysia is advancing an anti-monopoly investigation into Singapore-based Grab Holdings, ramping up a broader government push to bring greater competition to its economy, reported Bloomberg.

Iskandar Ismail, the CEO of Malaysia Competition Commission said that the anti-monopoly watchdog was stepping up the probe into the ride-hailing start-up, which was first announced last year by the country’s transport ministry, declining to elaborate on specific steps the commission was taking.

Grab’s rival Gojek is planning to enter the market with motorcycles and its top management met with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Kuala Lumpur in August 2019.

Mahathir is keen to lower the cost of living for Malaysians, a key pledge that led to his return to power in 2018 and his government is trying to expose state-linked companies to competition and introduce open tenders, ordering Telekom Malaysia to share its high-speed broadband cable network with other operators.

The Premier’s government is also considering allowing consumers to choose power suppliers other than state-owned Tenaga Nasional Bhd.

Greater competition could enhance Malaysia’s standing as a business destination.

As part of a government effort to stamp out wastage in public spending, Iskandar said the commission is looking into a few companies pitching for state contracts for possible bid-rigging practises.

In March 2019, the government said that eight companies formed cartels to manipulate bids on tenders involving information technology services for a state-linked institution—that was Malaysia’s first bid-rigging case in state procurement since the body’s establishment in 2011.

Iskandar said his commission is fielding more requests from state agencies and private companies wanting to learn how to detect bid-rigging and other anti-competitive practises and is receiving broad government support.


RELATED STORIES: PRIME MINISTER MAHATHIR MOHAMAD GOJEK UBER TECHNOLOGIES GRAB HOLDINGS MALAYSIA COMPETITION COMMISSION

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