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Court to decide in Jan if MyCC is allowed to challenge tribunal's decision to allow insurers' appeal

Publish date: Thu, 30 Nov 2023, 09:26 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 30): The High Court has set Jan 16 to decide on the Malaysia Competitions Commission's (MyCC) bid to obtain permission for a judicial review of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT)'s Sept 2, 2022 decision.

High Court judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid set the date after hearing submissions from lawyers on the matter via Zoom on Thursday.

In December 2022, MyCC filed the application at the High Court to obtain permission to initiate a judicial review of CAT’s decision to allow an appeal by Persatuan Insurans Am Malaysia (Piam) and its 22 members against the commission's decision in 2020.

The commission had deemed that an agreement on the application of trade discounts on automotive parts prices and hourly labour rates for motor vehicle repairs done under the PIAM Approved Repairers Scheme (PARS) as a breach of the Competition Act 2010.

In its application, MyCC sought to quash CAT’s decision and reinstate MyCC’s original decision made three years ago.

In the proceedings via Zoom on Thursday, lawyers representing the respondents - consisting of Piam and the 22 insurance companies - have contended that the application was frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.

Lawyer Anand Raj, who was representing some of the 22 insurance companies, submitted to Ahmad Kamal that the leave (permission) to commence a judicial review should not stand for the above reasons.

He also cited MyCC’s recent failure to get the Federal Court to review its previous decision to give the regulatory body leave to pursue its appeal to reinstate RM10 million in fines imposed on Malaysian Airlines and AirAsia Bhd for breaching a market-sharing prohibition earlier this month.

MyCC was seeking leave to appeal a decision by the Court of Appeal on April 26, 2021, which quashed the fine that was imposed on the air carriers by the commission in 2014 after both airlines were found to have breached the market sharing prohibition under Section 4(2) of the Competition Act by entering into an agreement on sharing markets in the air transport services sector within Malaysia.

Anand said the leave to commence the judicial review is a third bite at the cherry for MyCC, which failed in the AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines case.

Datuk V Sithambaram, who was submitting for MyCC on why leave should be granted to commence a judicial review, said CAT had acted irrationally, unreasonably and illegally, and leave should be granted to MyCC to further ventilate such issues.

Sithambaram also said that denying the commission's application on the basis of the AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines case will stifle the development of competition law.

Sithambaram was assisted by Kwan Will Sen.

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