The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission ("Commission") has introduced guidelines which establish a voluntary regime for competition assessments of mergers and acquisitions ("M&As") in the communications market in Malaysia, pursuant to powers under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 ("CMA").
Malaysia does not have a merger control regime of general application. Prior to this, the only competition regime regulating M&As is the one regulating the civil aviation industry and established under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015.
On 17 May 2019, the Commission issued the following 2 guidelines:
- the Guidelines on Mergers and Acquisitions ("M&A Guidelines"); and
- the Guidelines on Authorisation of Conduct ("Conduct Authorisation Guidelines") (collectively, "Guidelines")
In essence, the M&A Guidelines regulate the scope of transactions which fall within the guidelines, the process of application for assessments, the competition assessments of M&As, how the decisions are arrived at, enforcement measures and rights of appeal, among others.
The Conduct Authorisation Guidelines provide that the Commission may authorise anti-competitive conduct (including M&As) if the benefits from the conduct are in line with Malaysia's national interest.
Parties to an M&A may apply for assessments under the M&A Guidelines for a decision that the transaction will not result in a substantial lessening of competition. If unsuccessful, they have the option to apply for authorisation from the Commission under the Conduct Authorisation Guidelines. Parties also have the option to apply for assessments as well as authorisation of the M&A at the same time.