Grab faces USD 20 million fine in Malaysia for violating competition law

Grab has faced legal troubles across Southeast Asia since its merger with Uber’s regional operation.

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The Malaysia Competition Commission has ruled that Grab abused its dominant position the ride-hailing market, thus violating the country’s competition law, Reuters has reported.

As a consequence, Grab is facing a potential USD 20 million fine in a country where the regional giant got its start in 2012 as MyTeksi. According to Reuters, Grab was found to have prevented its drivers from “promoting and providing advertising services for its competitors.”

Grab’s spokesperson told KrASIA that: “We maintain our position that we have complied fully with the Competition Act 2010. We are surprised by the proposed decision that we received this morning. Whilst our legal counsels are now studying the proposed decision, we believe that it is common practice for businesses to decide upon the availability and type of third-party advertising on their respective platforms, tailored according to consumers’ needs and feedback. We will be submitting our written representations to MyCC by November 27, 2019.”

Grab has faced similar headaches in other Southeast Asian countries following its merger with Uber’s regional operation. In September 2018, Singapore’s competition authority fined Grab and Uber a total of SGD 13 million (USD 9.5 million) because the deal was found to reduce competition in ride-railing.

A month after the verdict in Singapore, the Philippines’ competition watchdog also fined the ride-hailing companies a total of PHP 16 million (nearly USD 297,000). But in June this year, Grab’s acquisition of Uber in Vietnam in March 2018 was found not in violation of the country’s competition law.

Grab recently published a report saying it has contributed USD 5.8 billion to the Southeast Asian economy in the 12 months leading up to March.

This has been updated with Grab’s statement.