Antitrust and competition in Malaysia

Christopher & Lee Ong

The competition and antitrust practice at Christopher & Lee Ong advises a broad roster of clients, including MNCs, Malaysian public listed companies, trade associations and government-linked companies. The full-service competition team has notable strengths in investigations by the Malaysia Competition Commission, transactional advice and due diligence, merger notifications and advice on Malaysia-specific competition legislation. The department has significant knowledge of vertical and distribution agreements containing restrictive covenants, abuse of dominance issues, joint purchasing and joint distribution arrangements as well as sector-specific expertise in telecoms, media, aviation and energy. Practice head Yon See Ting recently represented two insurance companies in a high-profile investigation brought by the MyCC; her practice covers investigations and dawn raids, merger approvals and M&A transaction counselling.

Practice head(s):

Yon See Ting

Other key lawyers:

Jane Guan

Testimonials

‘I dealt with See Ting and Jane regarding antitrust issues in Malaysia. They provided a swift response at the early stage and high-level advice as to the ‘dos and don’ts’. They further provided helpful guidance and risk assessment on what the company should do in responding to investigations and queries from authorities (if any).’

‘Jane Guan is knowledgeable and helpful and can provide a clear explanation of antitrust laws, especially when a layperson is not familiar with the topic. She also shared some insights for my perusal, which ultimately gave me an overview of the movement of antitrust law in Malaysia and eased the effort of locating relevant news.’

‘Deep knowledge of competition law, practical application of the law and in touch with the industry and market.’

‘The team has exceptional commercial acumen and is able to provide practical solutions to the client’s competition issues/concerns. This adds a unique value to their very sound legal advice. The team is also able to draw from its regional network’s expertise pool where needed, including economists with years of experience.’

‘Yon See Ting promptly understands the legal issues, the concerns of the client and works towards providing solutions rather than lengthy non-practical legal opinions. I specifically like the fact that she is able to think outside of the box.

Jane Guan provides business-centric advice which is a must for competition lawyers. She is also very prompt and responsive.’

‘Strong knowledge of competition law in Malaysia; advice is clear and done efficiently.’

‘Yon See Ting and Jane Guan – excellent knowledge of the law and can clearly and succinctly break down and explain complex competition law issues.’

Key clients

Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad

Progressive Insurance Berhad

SIA Engineering Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad and Progressive Insurance Berhad on the investigation brought by the Malaysia Competition Commission against the General Insurance Association of Malaysia and its 22 members.
  • Assisting SIA Engineering Company Limited with antitrust aspects of its proposed acquisition of a 49% minority stake of the issued and paid-up share capital of Pos Aviation Engineering Services Sdn Bhd.

Shearn Delamore & Co

Shearn Delamore & Co’s competition team pre-dates the introduction of a domestic legal framework, with significant experience advising government-linked and multinational companies, and particular strength in investigations and compliance reviews. The department boasts strong offerings across a notably broad range of industries, including consumer goods, telecoms, shipping, logistics and luxury goods, including sporting products and premium alcohol and spirits. K Shanti Mogan has extensive commercial litigation experience, and regularly handles compliance audits and competition investigations and disputes. She jointly heads the practice with Anand Raj, who advises a range of MNCs, GLCs and Malaysian enterprises, and is a name to note in the financial services, manufacturing and automotive sectors.

Practice head(s):

K Shanti Mogan; Anand Raj

Other key lawyers:

Lilien Wong

Testimonials

‘Anand Raj’s advocacy skills make him a force to reckon with when challenging the decisions of the local Competition law regulator.’

Key clients

Giga Shipping Sdn Bhd

Nexus Mega Carriers Sdn Bhd

The Malaysian Bar

Shopee Mobile Services Sdn Bhd

Allianz General Insurance Company (Malaysia) Berhad

AmGeneral Insurance Berhad

RHB Insurance Berhad

Liberty Insurance Berhad

Korean Airlines Co. Ltd.

Tay & Partners

The competition law practice at Tay & Partners handles complex contentious cases as well as advises on compliance and transactional mandates. The team has a strong record in high-profile cases, encompassing market sharing decisions, abuse of dominance, margin squeeze cases and price-fixing. Investigations are another core area of strength, as are dawn raid trainings. It has strong sector specialisms in aviation and telecoms, regularly making merger authorisation applications to the Malaysian Aviation Commission and the Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Communications Commission, respectively. Practice head and managing partner Beng Chai Tay draws on extensive international trade and investment experience, and is supported by Nicole Leong who focuses on contentious matters and associate Heng Jia.

Practice head(s):

Beng Chai Tai

Other key lawyers:

Nicole Leong; Heng Jia

Testimonials

‘I dealt with Nicole Leong and her team on antitrust topics. She provided excellent insight and advice during the meeting. That gave the company and myself a brief idea of the risk and the next action plans. In addition to that, the advice by her is practical and related to the business itself.’

‘Nicole Leong is quick in providing deliverables and is able to provide a clear and distinct assessment on a topic with suggestions and advice. She does not hesitate to share her knowledge with clients.’

Key clients

AirAsia Berhad

Grab Inc., GrabCar Sdn Bhd, MyTeksi Sdn Bhd

Novatis Resources Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Represented AirAsia to resist MyCC’s decision that AirAsia’s agreement with Malaysian Airline System Bhd (“MAS”) violated the prohibition against market-sharing under Malaysian competition laws.
  • Co-defended Grab in the decision issued by MyCC regarding its alleged abuse of dominant position.

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill is highly recommended for handling matters relating to pricing issues, particularly in the highly regulated industries; it is a popular choice for clients in the telecoms, financial services and media sectors. The practice advises compliance audits and due diligence on business practices, it also advises on the competition-aspects of transactions and conducts mock dawn raid exercises. The team is now led by Eunice Wei Lynn Chan following the departure of Adlin Abdul Majid who has been appointed as a Judicial Commissioner to the Bench of the High Court of Malaysia in April 2021; Chan has notable experience of advising on competition matters and brings expertise in franchising and distribution as well as IP.

Practice head(s):

Eunice Wei Lynn Chan

Other key lawyers:

Syahida Mohd Shamsuddin

Testimonials

‘Syahida M. Shamsuddin is reachable at any time and is very approachable. ’

‘Eunice Chan explains antitrust and competition law matters in simple language. Highly recommended. ’

‘The team has a great ability to advise not only on legal issues, but also on the practical considerations which arise. They are able to easily grasp complex technical issues.’

‘Syahida Shamsuddin is extremely detail-oriented and has become the company’s go-to counsel for any anti-trust matters. She has been able to understand our business quickly and has excellent knowledge in the field.’

Rahmat Lim & Partners

Rahmat Lim & Partners handles a broad range of antitrust and competition matters, including compliance, exemption applications to the MyCC, and cross-jurisdictional merger control assessments and filings. The team also represents clients in the financial services, automotive, pharmaceuticals and property development sectors in complaints and investigations. Raymond Yong focuses on matters involving the MyCC, regularly advising on cartel and abuse of dominance cases as well as on the antitrust-aspects of M&A and joint venture structuring. He jointly leads the practice with Chen Lee Won, whose clients include financial institutions, manufacturers, oil and gas entities and private equity firms.

Practice head(s):

Raymond Yong; Chen Lee Won

Other key lawyers:

Penny Wong

Testimonials

‘Rahmat Lim & Partners was our first choice of law firm to represent us on on appeal against the proposed decision by Malaysia Competition Commission on price-fixing.

‘We strongly recommended Ms Penny Wong Sook Kuan- she prepared a very strong legal argument and legal grounds to defend our position.’

‘Efficient, timely, careful and professional.’

‘Penny Wong Sook Kuan is very dedicated and always provides comprehensive advice and a problem-solving approach to our business. She is also responsive in addressing our business and legal issues in a timely manner.’

Raja, Darryl & Loh

Chew Phye Keat heads the competition law practice at Raja, Darryl & Loh, which frequently advises on competition audits and handles due diligence on business operations, agreements and policies. Key sector specialisms lie in the automotive, oil & gas and telecoms industries, as well as consumer goods and services, insurance and technology. The team also represents clients in contentious matters before the MyCC and in the courts, and is highly recommended for advising on abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive clauses in agreements.

Practice head(s):

Chew Phye Keat

Other key lawyers:

Chunyong Cheong

Work highlights

  • Defended four insurance companies before the Malaysian Competition Appeal Tribunal against a decision of the Malaysian Competition Commission regarding their cartel behaviour.
  • Acted for a manufacturer of consumer goods in respect of an investigation by the Malaysian Competition Commission and by the Competition regulator of a foreign jurisdiction.
  • Conducted a competition audit for a large pharmaceutical company.

Skrine

Skrine’s competition team combines advisory and disputes expertise. It represents various companies and industry groups before the MyCC in block exemptions applications, cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, complaints and leniency applications. It also advises on pricing issues, compliance and assists with competition audits and dawn raids. Tan Shi Wen’s practice focuses on regulated industries including pharmaceuticals, insurance, aviation and shipping;  Wen jointly leads the competition team with To’ Puan Janet Looi, who also heads the firm’s corporate division.

Testimonials

‘Diversified team with many specialisms.’

‘They give practical solutions and advice which are operational friendly.’

Key clients

AIA Bhd.

AIG Malaysia Insurance Berhad

AXA Affin General Insurance Berhad

Zurich Insurance Malaysia Berhad

Ben Line Agencies (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

Cosco Shipping Lines (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

Harbour-Link Lines Sdn Bhd

Hyundai Merchant Marine (M) Sdn Bhd; Interasia Lines (M) Sdn Bhd

KMTC Line (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

Maersk Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Mediterranean Shipping Company (M) Sdn Bhd

MTT Shipping Sdn Bhd;

Ocean Network Express (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

Orient Overseas Container Line (M) Sdn Bhd

S5 Asia Sdn Bhd (Roc. 629450-A)

Wan Hai Lines (M) Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Represented AIA Bhd.; AIG Malaysia Insurance Berhad, AXA Affin General Insurance Berhad, and Zurich Insurance Malaysia Berhad in an investigation by the MyCC relating to an agreement to fix the parts trade discount at 25% for six vehicle models.
  • Represented the majority of the container operators in the shipping industry (Ben Line Agencies (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd; Cosco Shipping Lines (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd; Harbour-Link Lines Sdn Bhd; Hyundai Merchant Marine (M) Sdn Bhd; Interasia Lines (M) Sdn Bhd; KMTC Line (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd; Maersk Malaysia Sdn Bhd; Mediterranean Shipping Company (M) Sdn Bhd; MTT Shipping Sdn Bhd; Ocean Network Express (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd; Orient Overseas Container Line (M) Sdn Bhd; S5 Asia Sdn Bhd (Roc. 629450-A); Wan Hai Lines (M) Sdn Bhd) in MyCC’s request for information and documents on container deposit charges in Malaysia.

Wong & Partners

Andre Gan heads the antitrust and competition group at Wong & Partners, which is particularly known for its work for clients in the consumer goods, retail and financial services industries; it has seen also seen growth in the insurance, pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors. The team focuses on advisory work, with key areas of expertise including merger control, distribution models and pricing policies, competitions audits, and distribution and supply chains.

Practice head(s):

Andre Gan

Other key lawyers:

Lydia Kong

Testimonials

‘The practice has a very good grasp of the industry and is extremely knowledgeable and astute with their insights.’

‘The partners are very knowledgeable – Lydia Kong and Andre Gan are very responsive and give practical advice.’

Key clients

Telekom Malaysia Berhad

Work highlights

  • Advised Telekom Malaysia Berhad on the potential competition law issues which may arise in connection with the collaboration agreement entered into by TM and Huawei for the launch of a public cloud that will be hosted in TM’s data centres.