Unaware of breaching Malaysian anti-competition law after Uber buy: Grab

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Grab office in Singapore March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

A year and a half after the Grab-Uber deal, Singapore-headquartered ride-hailing firm Grab said the acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asian operations was done in good faith and belief that the deal will “create more efficiencies and benefits for the public in the e-hailing sector”.

In a statement on Thursday, Grab said that the ride-hailing startup has fully cooperated with the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) in its request for information, and that it is not aware of any breach of competition laws since the acquisition in March 2018.

“Grab plays a complementary role in the entire public transportation ecosystem in Malaysia, most often serving the first-mile-last-mile needs of commuters…. Today, commuters in Malaysia continue to have the choice of getting from one point to another through public transport, street-hail taxis or more than 30 other licensed e-hailing apps,” said a Grab spokesperson.

The ride-hailing firm was responding to a Bloomberg news report, which said MyCC is advancing an anti-monopoly investigation into Grab to bring greater competition to Malaysia’s economy. Quoting Iskandar Ismail, the CEO of MyCC, the report said the anti-monopoly watchdog was stepping up a probe into Grab, although there was no details given on the specific steps the commission was taking.

The report added that the investigation follows multiple complaints starting from last year accusing Grab of monopolistic practices after it acquired Uber’s Southeast Asian operations in March 2018.

Founded in 2012 by Malaysian entrepreneurs Anthony Tan and Hooi Ling Tan, Grab started its ride-hailing business in Kuala Lumpur before shifting its headquarters to Singapore and is now one of the most-valued unicorn startups in Southeast Asia.

It has come a long way since then. Grab now positions itself as an everyday super-app, providing services in the food delivery, grocery delivery and financial services sector with a presence in eight Southeast Asian markets.

Its Indonesian rival Gojek, on the other hand, has been ramping up its overseas operations – it is now in Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand. The startup is also entering the Malaysian market soon, as its founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim and president Andre Soelistyo had met Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last month. The Malaysian government has given an in-principle approval the ride-hailing startup to offer two-wheeled taxi services in the country.