Malaysia’s troubling love of monopolies

NOVEMBER 6 — For all the talk we hear from politicians about making Malaysia more conducive for business, we are doing very little to enforce the anti-competitive legislation we do have.

Malaysia has specific Acts pertaining to anti-competitive actions, namely the Competition Act 2010 and the Competition Commission Act.

Yet where toll payments are concerned as well as the internet, not to mention various other business sectors, we see all too clearly the near-unbridled dominance of certain big players.

I’m not a believer in unregulated free trade as it relies too much on businesses behaving ethically without motivation.

We all know where human nature is concerned, anything not coded explicitly as a crime is considered fair game.

All the talk about promoting cashless payments in Malaysia is folly until certain payment providers are brought in line.

It boggles my mind why parking lots can’t just support payments by all debit/credit cards and e-wallets, and that there isn’t more incentive to do so.

Instead in malls using the services of a certain provider, you need to pay extra for the privilege.

What then is the way forward? First off, the government cannot be seen to be favouring any business.

No business should be allowed control of the major infrastructure of any particular service, and if it is the case, access must still be given to competitors who rely on said infrastructure without excessive fees.

Promoting fairness and justice should apply to the business sector as well. No more largesse for cronies, no special direct tenders or gifted contracts.

Aid needs to be distributed to where it is actually needed — small business, cottage industries, and local entrepreneurs for instance.

The time for spoon-feeding already successful companies is over. If they’ve managed to succeed so far from handouts they ill-deserve then perhaps it’s time to cut them loose and usher in an era of better services, innovative products and a lot less corruption.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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