A PRAYER COME TRUE â€“ MALAYSIAâ€™S COMPETITIONS ACT 2010!
In the year 1996, I wrote several articles appealing for a Competitions Act and did several TV and Radio interviews on the same!
In fact, a leading journalist Loo Si Fer in her column â€“ â€˜Devilâ€™s Advocateâ€™ in the Sunday Mail of 16 June 1996 gave me a very pleasant praise and heartwarming review in a write up entitled â€˜Breath of fresh air-time.â€™
The writer was indeed very kind to me!
Now more than 14 years later, surviving various forms of attacks and sidelining, attempts to destroy and derail my consumer advocacy career â€˜within and from outâ€™ – from those ‘pretender consumerist friends’ , surviving defamation, threats on my life, a job lost, mental and physical traumas, of pain, anxiety and financial crisis, the many nights I cried myself to sleep wondering whatâ€™s next â€“ not once showing my pain and difficulties to others – but – despite them- and â€“ we had no allocations or financial support from any quarter (like others!) but all these did not stop or prevent me helping others when they came!
I thank both the founding fathers of Malaysian consumerism for their prayer, advice and support all these years that prevented me walking away in disgust and hurt!
Today – I am happy to know that Malaysia indeed has a Competition Act 2010 which was passed in the last Parliament sitting!
In fact – it is good to know that my efforts then were not in vain!
And I want to thank those who prayed for me and helped me move forward courageously!
But what did I say on the Competition Act then â€“ in at least one press release:
â€˜ACT NEEDED TO ENSURE FAIR COMPETITION IN BUSINESS
The uncontrolled fluctuations of prices of essential goods and controlled items, rising costs of necessasities like water, electricity and telephone and the severe shortage or lack of emphasis on increasing domestic food cultivationÂ and production shows that all is not well in our agricultural, commercial and business sectors.
Are the present woes in the marketplace just another crisis due to the free market system or are they sinister moves organized by certain dominant companies with their own agenda?
Studies and observations reveal that for example a trend where certain industries are being controlled by few key players.
The manufacturing sector for example is a classic example where only 5% to 7% are indeed competitive while the rest is controlled by a few!
This means that these industries may be indulging in acts that can be defined as an abuse of oneâ€™s market power.
Activities practiced could spring from controlling a specific market to actions that limit access to a market by outsiders.
These actions if left unchecked could result in price fixing, predatory pricing, exclusive dealing and the formations of cartels collusive dealings, mergers, takeovers and undesirable joint ventures!
The government should have a specific act governing competition and we may call it a Trade Practices Act or Competitions Act
Its objectives would be to ensure and to promote progressive, equitable development of the economy by prohibiting acts that prevent fair competition.
The proposed law if effectively enforced will ensure competitive prices, wide product choices and protect consumers from unethical trade practices.
We have about 30 laws to regulate certain activities of enterprises and to protect the interests of consumers.
Among them are the Companies Act 1965, the Control of Supplies Act 1961, the Food Act 1983, the Trade Description Act 1972 and the Price Control; Act 1946.
We also have other administrative bodies such as the Foreign Investment Committee which is expected to control acquisition of assets, mergers and takeovers.
The committee is to ensure such moves follow stipulated conditions and procedures but does not control the monopolization of the industry.
However there are growing allegations that all is not well even within these circles.
For the record, present laws do not contain provisions to prohibit enterprises including those in monopolistic or dominant position fro abusing their power or indulging in restrictive business practices!â€™