Malaysia proposes RM86 million fine on Grab for abusive practices

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s competition regulator has proposed a fine of RM86 million (US$20.53 million) on ride-hailing firm Grab for violating the country’s competition law by imposing restrictive clauses on its drivers.

The Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) ruled that Grab, which has major backing from Japan’s Softbank Group, had abused its dominant position in the local market by preventing its drivers from promoting and providing advertising services for its competitors.

Grab “will have the opportunity to present its defence” before a decision is made on the infringements, MyCC chief executive officer Iskandar Ismail was quoted by the Star as saying during a press conference.

The regulator said last year it would monitor Grab for possible anti-competitive behaviour after its acquisiton of close rival Uber Technologies Inc’s Southeast Asian business in March last year.

Bloomberg reported last week that the competition watchdog’s chief executive officer said the commission was stepping up that investigation following multiple complaints about monopolistic practices since last year.

Singapore-based ride-hailing Grab responded saying it had cooperated with MyCC and was not informed of any regulation breaches since buying its rival.

Last year, Singapore’s competition watchdog fined Grab and Uber a total of S$13 million (US$9.4 million) over their merger, saying that the deal has led to the substantial eroding of competition in the ride-hailing market.

Uber was fined S$6.58 million while Grab was fined S$6.42 million. The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said the penalties were imposed to “deter completed, irreversible mergers that harm competition”.

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