Antitrust and competition in Malaysia

Christopher & Lee Ong

With experience pre-dating the domestic legal framework, Yon See Ting leads the antitrust and competition team at Christopher & Lee Ong. Supported by the 'practical' senior associate Jane Guan, it handles a multitude of sector issues. Specifically enforcement raids (MyCC), relief and exemption applications, merger controls for regulated sectors and the implications of joint ventures. Industries regularly covered include telecoms, media and energy, areas in which it has recently dealt with branding provisions, cartels (price fixing, bid rigging) and abuse of dominance. The client portfolio includes a significant number of MNCs and Malaysian public listed companies.

Practice head(s):

Yon See Ting

Other key lawyers:

Jane Guan

Testimonials

Commercially minded, cost conscious, reliable and responsive.

Jane Guan is a practical lawyer, she provides straightforward advice that can be easily implemented by the business teams.

Key clients

SIA Engineering Company Limited (SIAEC)

Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad (Prudential)

Shearn Delamore & Co

Shearn Delamore & Co's strong track record in antitrust pre-dates the onset of Malaysia's 2010 Competition Act. In particular, the firm is well-versed in representing multinational and government-linked companies in related compliance matters. Led by Anand Raj and K Shanti Mogan, it counts major clients from the financial, pharmaceutical and construction sectors within its portfolio. Recent case highlights include a potential abuse of dominance case (concerning exclusivity and bundling), an investigation by MyCC over allegations of horizontal infringement and a purported breach of contract (private law dispute). Lilien Wong is the name to note for matters relating to joint ventures and share sales.

Practice head(s):

Anand Raj; K. Shanti Mogan

Other key lawyers:

Lilien Wong

Key clients

Giga Shipping Sdn Bhd

Nexus Mega Carriers Sdn Bhd

The Malaysian Bar

Tay & Partners

Having represented AirAsia Berhad in the first case to go to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, the antitrust and competition team at Tay & Partners has a significant presence in the market. Led by the highly experienced Beng Chai Tay, it counts major clients from the automotive, telecoms and pharmaceutical sectors within its portfolio. Corporate and regulatory compliance lawyer Nicole Leong regularly works on the review of distribution agreements and successfully resisted a non-infringement verdict from MyCC in a case on purported margin squeeze. Associate Heng Jia is singled out as a rising star within the team.  More broadly, the firm is increasingly engaged in merger control activity, an issue being pushed by domestic authorities.

Practice head(s):

Tay Beng Chai

Other key lawyers:

Nicole Leong; Heng Jia

Testimonials

Our preferred firm & team to work with, both for Malaysia-specific topics and also regional matters where they play a coordinating role. They are responsive, attentive to detail, clear & concise in their advice and charge reasonably. I can’t think of any negatives!

Partner-Nicole Leong. Associate-Heng Jia: We have been working with Nicole Leong for a few years now, since she was a Senior Associate and then elevated to Partnership (well-deserved). Nicole makes effort to understand our industry and the way our company does business, including our tolerance for risk as well as the specifics of each individual case/scenario. Complex roll-outs of new business models are made easier by her attention to detail and effort/ability to remember internal acronyms, business divisions, product lines and nuances that other external counsel may overlook. Heng Jia – presumably trained by Nicole – exhibits similar qualities‘.

 

Key clients

Grab Inc., GrabCar Sdn Bhd, MyTeksi Sdn Bhd

AirAsia Berhad

Novatis Resources Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Co-represented Grab in resisting the proposed decision issued by MyCC on alleged abuse of dominant position.
  • Represented AirAsia in its case against MyCC’s decision that AirAsia’s agreement with Malaysian Airline System Bhd (“MAS”) violated the prohibition against market-sharing under Malaysian competition laws.
  • Represented the regulator at hearings and representations before the MyCC.

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill

TMT and government expert Adlin Abdul Majid orchestrates the antitrust and competition offering at Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill. Providing clients with specialist advice on both the Competition Act 2010 and self-regulated industries, it regularly acts for key players in the automobile, financial and telecoms sectors. Eunice Chan Wei Lynn complements the team with dedicated experience in franchising and distribution alongside a strong track record in related IP matters. Recent work highlights handled the legal aspects of mergers and acquisitions as well as product distribution.  

Practice head(s):

Adlin Abdul Majid

Other key lawyers:

Eunice Chan Wei Lynn 

Testimonials

We work with Adlin and Syahida at Lee Hishamuddin Allen & Gledhill on Antitrust and Competition matters. I am very impressed with the quality of their work – thorough assessment, expansive research, and well-written opinions‘.

Good communication and constant updates for the client on the latest legal developments in Malaysia‘.

They go above and beyond the usual research on local jurisprudence and regulatory issuances. They research and cite foreign jurisprudence and guidance that are persuasive in Malaysia. I highly appreciate this as the competition law principles in Malaysia are not yet as mature as in other markets‘.

Fast response on inquiries, in-depth knowledge in the subject matter, easy to communicate, good attitude‘.

Rahmat Lim & Partners

The Regulatory and Compliance team at Rahmat Lim & Partners has a strong track record defending clients in antitrust investigations pursed by MyCC. Azman bin Othman Luk oversees the offering and provides particular expertise in banking and finance matters such as syndicated financing and LBO transactions. More broadly, the firm helps to mitigate infringement risk by regularly reviewing clients’ business practices. It also assesses vertical and horizontal arrangements (involving joint ventures, and distribution agreements) in order to circumvent potential breaches of the law. Industries served include: automotive, pharmaceutical, heavy equipment, building materials, property development, and hospitality.

Practice head(s):

Azman bin Othman Luk

Key clients

GrabCar Sdn. Bhd.

My E.G. Services Berhad

Work highlights

  • Advised MyEG on an infringement finding by the Malaysia Competition Commission (“MyCC”) for allegedly infringing section 10(2) of the Competition Act 2010.
  • Advised Grab Malaysia in MyCC Competition Commission action for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the e-hailing market by imposing a number of restrictive clauses.

Raja, Darryl & Loh

Notable for its 'quick response' times, the antitrust and competition team at Raja, Darryl & Loh is headed by corporate and commercial expert Chew Phye Keat. Current areas of focus for the firm include potential abuse of dominant position as well as the risks posed by anti-competitive clauses in client-dealer agreements. It also assists with exemption applications to MyCC or the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission in telecoms cases. Aviation law expert Chong Kok Seng  is an additional name to note.

Practice head(s):

Chew Phye Keat

Other key lawyers:

Chong Kok Seng

Testimonials

They provide immediate responses and are knowledgeable in handling issues on antitrust and competition practices. Even where there are no issues, they will give regular advice, suggestions and recommendations for improvement‘.

The whole antitrust and competition practice team are always available whenever we need them especially the partner, Mr Chew Phye Keat and Mr Chong Kok Seng. The stand out quality in this firm is their quick response and the ability to reach them. They are accessible anywhere and everywhere. Its not just the junior associate but the partner are also around to guide us whenever needed‘.

Key clients

Nestle Malaysia

Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd

JTI Group

QBE Insurance (Malaysia) Berhad

Work highlights

  • Defended four insurance companies in Malaysia before the Malaysian Competition Commission in respect of an allegation of cartel behaviour.
  • Advised a client in relation to an ongoing investigation by the Malaysian Competition Commission pertaining to suspected cartel activities by the bank’s employees.
  • Conducted an audit of the client’s business model and mode of dealing with its dealers and advised on its new dealership agreement from a Competition law perspective.

Skrine

Skrine's antitrust team has successfully represented a range of parties at the MyCC in connection with cartel matters (abuse of dominance investigations) and other issues. It is therefore well placed to advise on domestic competition law and audits to ensure compliance. Additionally, it also operates an established disputes practice where it regularly acts as counsel for MyCC itself as well as various players in the pharmaceutical, shipping and insurance sectors. The offering is led by M&A expert To’ Puan Janet Looi .

Practice head(s):

To’ Puan Janet Looi

Key clients

Malaysia Competition Commission

Pelangi Prestasi Sdn Bhd

Shipping Association of Malaysia

AIG Malaysia Insurance Berhad

AIA Bhd.

AXA Affin General Insurance Berhad

Zurich General Insurance Malaysia Berhad

Malaysia Shipowners’ Association

Work highlights

  • Acted successfully for the Malaysia Competition Commission (“MyCC”) in the judicial review application filed by MyEG Services Berhad (“MyEG”) and MyEG Commerce Sdn Bhd (“MyEG Commerce”) to quash the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s (“CAT”) decision dated 28 December 2017.
  • Assisted clients in the investigation by the MyCC on an agreement to fix the parts trade discount at 25% for six vehicle makes namely Proton, Perodua, Nissan, Toyota, Honda and Naza and 15% for the Proton Saga BLM model, as well as the labour hourly rate of RM30.00 per hour for Persatuan Insuran Am Malaysia (PIAM) Approved Repairers Scheme (“PARS”) workshops.
  • Represented clients on a BEO, which is effective for the period 7 July 2019 to 6 July 2022 (unless earlier withdrawn by the MyCC).

Wong & Partners

The  antitrust and competition offering at Wong & Partners is routinely sought out for its regulatory knowledge of offline and online channels. In particular, it is noted for its work in consumer goods, retail and financial services. More broadly, clients can secure advice on compliance as it relates to high-value, commercial agreements, merger control, distribution models and various pricing policies. Notably, the firm also has experience in enforcement (having recently executed a 'mock' dawn raid in order to assess client preparedness). Lead partner Andre Gan is renowned for his expertise in M&A and the team has been strengthened with the return of Lydia Kong, formerly of Navis Capital Partners.  

Practice head(s):

Andre Gan

Other key lawyers:

Lydia Kong

Testimonials

I have worked with Andre Gan from this firm. What stands out is the speed in which he is able to provide advice. Always contactable and always willing to assist on any topics. He has knowledge on domestic laws as well as the laws in the region which makes it easy when we carry out cross-border transactions‘.

 

Key clients

TNG Digital Sdn Bhd

Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad

Sanden Corporation

Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Toyota Tsusho Corporation

Work highlights