Act to provide a level playing field for industry from Jan 1

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  • Wednesday, 20 Oct 2010

THE Competition Act 2010, which will be enforced on Jan 1 next year, will promote a competitive market environment and provide a level playing field for industry players.

Interim Competition Commission head Shila Derai Raj said the Act would create a better business environment by providing safeguards against anti-competitive market practices that could drive enterprises out of business.

“The Act will create a more competitive, efficient and regulated marketplace and this will result in lower prices, more choices and adequate availability of quality goods and services,” she said during a seminar on the Good and Services Tax and Competition Act in Kuching yesterday.

“It is intended to prevent large companies from engaging in monopolistic and cartel activities and to promote economic development by promoting and protecting the process of competition in the Malaysian market in order to maximise consumer welfare.

“The Act provides a comprehensive competition law at the national level which cuts across all economic sectors except for anti-competition practices regulated under the Communications and Multimedia Commission Act 1998 and Energy Commission Act 2001.”

She further said a Competition Commission would be established to oversee the implementation of the Act.

“It will investigate any potential anti-competitive practices and will also be empowered to impose financial penalties,” she explained, adding that decisions by the Competition Commission may be appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Under the Act, any corporate body found guilty may be fined up to RM5mil for a first offence and up to RM10mil for a subsequent offence.

Individuals found guilty in violation of the Act may be fined up to RM1mil for a first offence and RM2mil for a subsequent offence and may also be subjected to concurrent jail terms of up to five years in addition to the fine.

Any individual who tips off an enterprise about the possibility of an investigation by the commission is deemed to commit an offence.

Meanwhile, Pricewaterhouse-Coopers Direct Tax executive director Fan Kah Seong said the Price Control and Anti Profiteering Bill was a significant step taken by the Government to smoothen the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“The Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism will set up a Price Commission to oversee the matter and regulate the prices of goods and services. Consumers can lodge their complaints against any traders found to have flouted the GST regulations,” he said.

He said that businesses with sales turnover of more than RM500,000 must be licensed for the GST.

“The timeline for any traders to apply for a licence is three months before the implementation of the GST and failure to do so would be an offence under the proposed GST Act,” he added.

He said any supply of goods and services would be subjected to GST except those that were exempted items or zero rated.

On the inflationary impact once the GST was implemented, Fan said it would be negative provided the traders did not abuse it and raise prices of goods and services.

“The amount of inflation will be negligible if the saving is not shared,” he added.

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