KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s competition watchdog proposed on Thursday a fine of 86.8 million Malaysian ringgit ($20.5 million) on ride-hailing company Grab for allegedly breaching the Southeast Asian country’s competition law.
The Malaysia Competition Commission accused Grab of imposing “a number of restrictive clauses on its drivers which prevented the drivers from promoting and providing advertising services for [Grab’s] competitors in the e-hailing and transit media advertising market.”
According to the MyCC, such restrictive clauses had the effect of distorting competition in the market by creating barriers to entry and expansion for Grab’s existing and future competitors.
The government agency stressed that the decision was not final and gave Grab 30 days to prepare its defense.
“Grab will have the opportunity to present its defense and then we will decide if there are infringements or not,” said the MyCC’s chief executive officer, Iskandar Ismail, at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Singapore-based Grab, which counts Didi Chuxing and SoftBank Group Corp. as investors, bought the Southeast Asian operations of the world’s biggest ride-hailing service, San Francisco-based Uber Technologies, in March 2018, and has grown into one of the biggest ride-hailing companies in Southeast Asia ever since.
The MyCC already announced that it would closely watch Grab for any monopolistic behavior after it acquired Uber’s business in the region.
Last October, the Philippines’ competition regulator imposed a fine of 16 million pesos ($ 308,000) for violating competition regulations in the country.