Competition Act is taking effect from 1 Jan 2012 to ensure competition existed in all sectors of services and products retail/distribution outlets for the benefit of rakyat/consumers.
Yesterday, Star newspaper business column caught my eyes with the front page header Waiver Sought by 4 parties applying for exemption from Competition Act.
They are The Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM), Association of Malaysian Hauliers, a joint application by the Malaysia Shipowners Association, Shipping Association of Malaysia and federation of Malaysian Port Operators Council. The sole individual – Nestle Products Sdn Bhd.
Many could not see the reasons behind such waiver application and there is no reason to consider such application if waiver would put consumers/customers at disadvantage.
For an example, Life Insurance companies have been deciding jointly to extend the critical year of insurance policy citing financial downturn and hence the lower return of insurance companies investment as the main reason. This has put their customers in a difficult position as many of insured prompted to surrender their insurance policy for cash in view of continuous payment of insurance premium with no definite date of last payment. When misfortune do happen to this group of people; their family has no insurance protection to ensure their livelihood not affected by the untoward incidence. Hopefully the Competition Act will put a stop to this misery but now if the waiver application is approved it will be back to square one.
There is an annual fee of RM10,000 for the waiver application and RM20,000 block exemption. These companies willing to pay for such annual fees shows that their interest is affected by the Competition Act and such waiver is not necessary beneficial to their customers and consumers.
The authority should ensure that any waiver is for the benefit of raykat/consumers/users or else Competition Act will be redundant and serve no purpose.