Sunday, 24 September 2023

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Victory for Grab as Malaysian High Court overturns MyCC’s RM86 million fine

KUALA LUMPUR — On Thursday (6 Jul), the Malaysian High Court overturned the competition regulator, Malaysian Competition Commission’s (MyCC) RM86.77 million fine against the popular ride-hailing platform, Grab.

The decision came after Grab filed an appeal against MyCC’s hefty penalty.

In the ruling, the court invalidated the fine and deemed it unreasonable, stating that MyCC had failed to provide sufficient evidence to support its claims of anti-competitive behaviour by Grab, consequently reversing the fine, and relieving Grab of the financial burden.

MyCC had initially imposed the fine on Grab in 2019, alleging that the company was in violation of the Competition Act 2010 by abusing its dominant market position to hinder competition through the acquisition of rival ride-hailing service, Uber resulting in monopoly and restricted consumer choices.

Grab vehemently denied these allegations and argued that the merger with Uber had actually increased competition in the ride-hailing industry, maintaining that it had not engaged in any anti-competitive practices and had always prioritised consumer welfare.

During the court proceedings, Grab presented evidence to support its claims. The court ultimately agreed that MyCC had not met the burden of proof required to substantiate the alleged anti-competitive behaviour.

“I could not accept MyCC’s contention that the judicial review could hamper the regulator’s investigation into anti-competition practice,” said Judge Wan Ahmad Farid.

The court ruling comes as a significant relief for Grab as the RM86.77 million fine would have posed a substantial financial setback for the company advertently setting precedent for future cases involving alleged anti-competitive practices, highlighting the importance of providing concrete evidence to support such claims.

The court, however, rejected Grab’s claim for damages against MyCC, affirming that the regulator’s decision to impose the proposed fine was not driven by any evidence of ill intent or bad faith.

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