28 July 2023

On 7 July 2023, the High Court ("HC") quashed the Malaysia Competition Commission's (“MyCC”) proposed decision to impose a financial penalty of RM86.8 million (approximately US$18.6 million) on Grab Inc., GrabCar Sdn. Bhd. and MyTeksi Sdn. Bhd. (collectively, “Grab”) on grounds of procedural impropriety and breach of natural justice. In its proposed decision, the MyCC alleged that Grab had created barriers to entry in the ride-hailing market by imposing restrictive clauses on its drivers preventing them from promoting and providing advertising services for Grab’s competitors.

The case stemmed from complaints made against Grab after its 2018 merger with rival Uber, which made it a dominant player in the sector. Grab contested the allegations, arguing that it was common practice for businesses to decide on third-party advertising on their respective platforms. Grab sought a judicial review of the decision, citing questions over the regulator’s procedures. In particular, the MyCC had imposed a daily penalty of RM15,000 with immediate effect from the date of the proposed decision, despite the final decision having yet to be issued. The Court of Appeal allowed the judicial review on 21 April 2021, and the HC concurred on 7 July 2023, ruling that Grab did not need to exhaust the domestic inquiry process.