Dialogue throws light on Competition Order

MORE than 20 business representatives from the Anggerek Desa Technology Park (ADTP) Community gathered in a dialogue session with the Department of Competition and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) of the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE), Ministry of Finance and Economy, to learn more about the risks of anti-competitive practices prohibited by the Competition Order, in an effort to promote compliance with the Order.

The DCCA commended the proactive initiative led by the Dynamik Technologies Sdn Bhd in organising the Dialogue session, in line with the DCCA’s on going effort to promote business compliance before the Order is enforced.

Present during the Dialogue was Legislative Council member and Chairperson of the Competition Commission of Brunei Darussalam Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii.

Dynamik Techologies Legal Advisor Mohamad Hasnalluddin bin Haji Yahya in the opening of the dialogue, emphasised the importance for the IT business community to learn more about the key anti-competitive conducts prohibited by the competition law, to ensure business plans and commercial strategies are not violating the Order and to ensure compliance in creating a fair and healthy market in Brunei Darussalam.

The Acting Director of the DCCA began the session by highlighting that businesses adherence to the Competition Order contribute to markets operating fairly, innovation, productivity and to overall and sustainable business growth and competitiveness, which will in turn bring about benefits to consumers and the economy.

The dialogue discussed various forms of cartels, which are categorised as serious offences which are per se illegal. These cartel activities exist when businesses agree to act together instead of competing against one another. The four key per se illegal cartels are collusive tendering, price fixing, controlling market and limiting supply of goods to create artificial shortage.

Participants in a group photo with Legislative Council member and Chairperson of the Competition Commission of Brunei Darussalam Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii

By controlling markets and restricting goods and services, cartels can put honest and well-run companies out of business while suppressing innovation and protecting their own inefficient members.

This will potentially lead to a harmful impact on the market, economy and the consumer welfare in the long-run.

Businesses are therefore advised to protect themselves from unfair and unethical conducts for their survival and growth.

The session highlighted on the need for businesses to compete independently against one another in tender process. Collusive tendering or bid rigging is one of the key serious anti-competitive conducts and it has different forms including bid suppression, complementary bidding, and bid rotation.

The session also discussed on the leniency provision in the Order, one of the tools to gather evidence in detecting cartels.

This provision provides immunity or protection from the Order for the first party who notifies the competition authority of the cartel conduct, provided that the member also meets all other requirements of the leniency programme.

The procedures and requirements will be published in the guidelines.

The Chairperson of the Competition Commission of Brunei Darussalam concluded the dialogue by encouraging businesses to conduct their activities in a fair and ethical manner for the benefit of their business growth.