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Flower growers to face action for price-fixing

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INFRINGEMENT: MyCC to deliver decision on first case under Competition Act

  KUALA LUMPUR:  MALAYSIA is ready to make its first decision on anti-competitive behaviour under the Competition Act 2010, which came into force on Jan 1.

The Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) is investigating the Cameron Highlands Floriculturist Association (CHFA) for price-fixing.

Any move to fix prices and restrict competition in the market is against the law.

Based on the findings, the commission has made what it calls a "proposed decision" -- a notice to the affected party listing out the facts and the penalty that could be imposed.

In cases involving infringement of the Competition Act, the investigation commences when a case merits an inspection and ends when penalty is imposed.

MyCC's chief executive officer Shila Dorai Raj said that it initiated investigations based on a news report in March.

The article, quoting CHFA's president, said that its members had agreed to increase prices by 10 per cent.

CHFA has over 100 members who sell their flowers to distributors and wholesalers in Malaysia.

MyCC is the body tasked with the job of investigating instances of cartels and abuse of the dominant position in the market.

"We will provide the 'proposed decision' to the affected party," Shila said.

This will allow CHFA the chance to comment or refute it.

 

"Essentially, a 'proposed decision' is almost final unless the party can rebut it," Shila said.

Although the act came into force this year, the industry was given an 18-month lead time to prepare.

Shila said MyCC was taking a "soft approach" in this case but warned that the decision nevertheless served as a warning that price-fixing was against the law.

MyCC, she said, would continue to monitor the activities of all trade associations, including professional bodies, to ensure that they do not indulge in activities which could stifle competition among them and violate the Competition Act.

Any violation may result in a financial penalty of not more than 10 per cent of the worldwide turnover of an enterprise over the period of an infringement.

MyCC is now working on eight cases which merit a probe for possible infringement of the Competition Act 2010.

MyCC chief executive officer Shila Dorai Raj says the commission is monitoring the activities of all trade associations, including professional bodies, to ensure their activities do not stifle competition.


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