Chong urges MCMC to investigate proposed merger between Celcom-Digi

Chong Chieng Jen (file photo)

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By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, April 13: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen is calling the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to investigate the proposed merger between Celcom Axiata Bhd (Celcom) and Digi.Com Bhd (Digi).

Chong in a press statement today said with the proposed merger of Celcom-Digi, the post-merger entity will control more than 50 per cent of the mobile subscribers in Malaysia’s telecommunication market.

Thus, he believed the situation will greatly reduce the choices to consumers in Malaysia, which her termed to be counter-competition and detrimental to consumers’ interest in both choices and pricing.

“There is no question that the proposed merger will have the effect of anti-competition on the telecommunication sector in Malaysia, which contravenes Section 133 of Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and there is nothing of ‘national interest’ for MCMC to authorise such a merger.

“In fact, in the special briefing of Axiata on April 8, when Axiata’s president cum chief executive officer Datuk Izzaddin Idris was asked about the possible merger of both the companies in respect to their operations in Bangladesh, his response was that it was impossible to merge the businesses as it will go against the anti-competition act.

“If even a country like Bangladesh has laws to prohibit such mergers to protect its consumers interest, we, Malaysia should not fall behind in terms of protection of our consumers’ rights and interests in our country,” he said.

However, Chong, who is also Stampin MP, noted that Section 140 of the CMA 1998 allows MCMC to grant the approval of a proposed merger upon application of a licensee on the grounds of “national interest”.

He then made the call to MCMC to investigate the proposed merger between Celcom and Digi and not to grant the authorisation for such a proposed merger to be approved. — DayakDaily