Effecting change in an environment of decades-long business practices is a formidable task. Undaunted, the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) is enforcing the Competition Act 2010, which aims to create a more competitive business environment in the country.
"The expectations are high in that people expect changes overnight. Managing these expectations is one of the biggest challenges that MyCC faces," says Shila Dorai Raj, CEO of MyCC.
These challenges include a lack of awareness of the Competition Act. Even after an aggressive campaign prior to the act's implementation, many businesses remain in the dark as to compliance and its benefits. To address this, MyCC created an advocacy programme from this year to 2014 targeting priority sectors.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have also expressed their reservations about the act, which demands compliance, regardless of a business' size. MyCC allays these concerns by explaining how the act is able to protect SMEs from any anti-competitive activities of larger companies.
MyCC prioritises curbing cartel-type activities involving large companies. It is examining the halted share swap agreement between AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines for elements contrary to the act. MyCC is also evaluating applications of companies asking to be exempted from the act.
Faced by these challenges, MyCC remains committed to its role for the benefit of the average consumer and the economy of Malaysia.
"When there is an effective competitive process, one can expect to see lower prices, higher-quality, innovative products and attractive service," Raj says. "It may not be evident two to three years down the line, but I am confident that, given time, and with cases decided by MyCC, which will demonstrate the effectiveness of enforcing the law, Malaysia will emerge as a competitive nation."