In an effort to spur competition and reduce the cost of living, the government is looking to break up any form of monopoly or cartels in Malaysia.

According to a report by The Star, domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the government has identified a few companies that are believed to have a monopolistic position in the market.

Among the companies named that related to motoring include Puspakom and MyEG Services Berhad. Malaysians will be familiar with these two companies, as the former is the country’s first and only comprehensive national vehicle inspection company to undertake all mandatory inspections for both commercial and private vehicles.

Meanwhile, MyEG is an e-government services provider that allows users to perform a variety of activities like road tax renewal as well as summons or compound payment with the Road Transport Department (JPJ), Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the Royal Malaysia Police.

Saifuddin explained that there were three elements in assessing monopoly issues, including the relevance of the policies that resulted in the creation of these monopolies, the size of their investments and the impact to the economy. “We haven’t submitted our recommendations to the Cabinet on the four companies,” he noted.

“This is part of the government’s initiative to liberalise the industry and promote competition and technological innovation in business and services,” said Saifuddin. He added that the increase in the cost of living was believed to be partly contributed by resources being controlled by a small group of individuals and big conglomerates.

For now, the government will continue to assess the matter via a special task force set up last year, which is headed by economic affairs minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, with others involved being transport minister Anthony Loke, health minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and agriculture and agro-based minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub.

“Recommendations on whether we would dismantle the monopolistic businesses or allow them to continue could be among the options. We are still at the discussion stage. Monopolies are not necessarily bad, but the ones that are bad are those inhibiting their competitors, manipulating prices and controlling supply,” said Saifuddin.