KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — The High Court here today quashed the Malaysian Competition Commission’s (MyCC) RM86.77 million proposed fine against Grab Inc and its two subsidiaries over the ride-hailing firm’s anti-competitive practice.
Judge Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh in allowing the judicial review by Grab Inc, Grabcar Sdn Bhd and Myteksi Sdn Bhd also ordered the commission to pay RM20,000 as cost to the trio.
In his ruling, the judge said that MyCC’s decision behind the fine is tainted with procedural impropriety and the competition regulator’s proposed fine was not backed by a proper investigation process.
The judge also noted that while the proposed fine was over a 2019 complaint lodged to MyCC by a Grab driver over the company’s alleged anti-competitive practice, the regulator had instead relied on 2018 complaints regarding the company’s purported violation of the Competition Act 2010.
“I could not accept MyCC’s contention that the judicial review could hamper the regulator’s investigation into anti-competitive practice,” said the judge.
Judge Wan Ahmad Farid added that the proposed fine was a decision by a public authority that could still be the subject of a legal challenge via judicial review.
The court however, did not allow Grab’s bid for damages against MyCC, pointing out that there was no element of bad faith behind the regulator’s decision for the proposed fine.
In December 2019, the three companies filed the legal challenge against MyCC’s proposed fine of RM86.77 million against them for violating the Competition Act 2010 through purported restrictive clauses imposed on its drivers.
However, in February 2020, the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed the trio’s application as it deemed the move premature, given that the proposed decision was not final yet.
On appeal, the Court of Appeal, on April 19, 2021, granted leave to the three companies to commence a judicial review. This prompted MyCC to file an application in the Federal Court for leave to appeal.
However, last year, the Federal Court dismissed MyCC’s application to obtain leave to appeal against the appellate court’s decision.
The hearing of the judicial review application brought by the three companies was heard last year by the High Court on its merits. — Bernama