ALOR STAR: Kedah Malay Chambers of Commerce (DPMM) has lauded Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's commitment to end monopoly practice in the country which does not benefit the people.
DPMM Kedah chapter president Datuk Mohd Zayad Md Ismail welcomed Anwar's instruction to all ministries to review monopoly practice under their respective purview to encourage a more transparent economic development and fairer competition, as announced recently in the Dewan Rakyat.
"The economists have also concurred, as they believe bringing down the monopoly would increase the number of millionaires among the Malay and Bumiputera community.
"Other experts are also of the opinion that breaking down the monopoly practice will open up a space for industry players to increase their efficiency, which in turn will have a direct impact on the people in particular from the prices setting perspective," he said in a statement.
Kedah DPMM however, has expressed its disappointment with the Sarawak government's recent move reverting to monopoly practice for the state's liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distribution.
"This is a monopoly move. (It is) going against what has been stressed and repeated over time by the prime minister, and of course, the monopoly system is regressive in nature and contrary to the Malaysia Madani concept.
"In fact, the reality in the market economy today requires competition to strengthen economic competitiveness, which means monopoly practice should be phased out and not be encouraged.
"In fact, Malaysia as a member of ASEAN is well known as a nation that encourages fair and free trade," he said.
Zayad is referring to Sarawak's state Utilities and Telecommunications Minister Datuk Seri Julaihi Narawi who on Tuesday, said that Petros Niaga Sdn Bhd, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros), to be made the the sole distributor of LPG Sarawak from December 1.
Julaihi was reported as informing the Sarawak legislative assembly that the state administration decided not to renew the LPG distribution licence of another company – that he did not name, which is due to expire at the end of this month.
Following the state lawmakers' move to approve the Distribution of Gas (Amendment) Bill 2023, Julaihi said Petros Niaga, which previously controlled 68 per cent of the LPG market in Sarawak, will have total control over the state's market share.
Commenting further, Zayad said the Sarawak government's move is seen as taking a step back and sending the wrong message, particularly in drawing foreign direct investment (FDI).
"Monopoly policies may also be perceived as not competitive, painting negative sentiments among foreign investors in Malaysia.
"Monopoly practice will create a negative impact on the investment climate by stalling competition, creating uncertainties on the market regulation and potentially leading towards a sudden change in policies and laws.
"These matters could be a push factor for foreign investors in being comfortable to invest in Malaysia," he said.
Zayad added that the move by the Sarawak government may create an impact on the supply chain, particularly on the fate of thousands of workers in Sarawak.
Contractors, suppliers, distributors and many Sarawakians will be losing their income and businesses once the existing LPG suppliers no longer do business in the state, including companies which have been operating there for over a decade.
He said following the move, consumers will no longer have the right to choose and can only obtain the supply from a single supplier.
"Referring to the matter, Kedah DPMM wishes to stress that the essence of business regardless of whether in manufacturing or services in the country should be based on open competition and should not be a monopoly. A healthy business climate should be made priority and should be competitive in nature while protecting consumers."