Due to some form of miscommunication, the flower growers of Cameron Highlands has apologizes over the issue of a price-fixing exercise. According to Lee Peng Fo, the president of the Cameron Highlands Floriculturists Association, an initial agreement was made among the 150 members of the association to increase the price of flowers. This was agreed upon that the prices for flowers will be 10% more costly than before. The original intention was harmless as it was to help the members to undertake the rising cost of material and labour.
However, it was found later that such a move was not allowed under a new law. This was confirmed by the MyCC or Malaysia Competition Commission who informed the association that the commission would have broken the law. Lee said that they will be meeting up with MyCC to clarify the matter and hence, the agreement among the 150 members over the price hike is no longer valid.
The announcement was made in March last year and as they were not aware of the new law, the meeting with MyCC will be to give their statement and reasoning behind the move and to understand better about how the new law works. Hence, the association has apologized to everyone concerned.
The commission had informed the association that it had contravened the Competition Act’s Section 4(2) when they went into the agreement. The Act was enforced in January last year where the commission sent a proposed decision for engaging into an anti-competitive agreement through the increasing of flower prices. The MyCC’s statement suggested that it was a form of price-fixing and that was in violation of the act because it involved enterprises in the same level of production or supply chain as stipulated. As a result it could result in significant prevention, restriction or distortion of the competition in the market. If that happens, it means that other competitors in the open market (not members of the association) might be at a disadvantage competitively.
There are no standard prices where flowers are concerned which according to Lee depend largely on the quality. The range varies among the flower growers. In this issue, the commission informed the association to provide and undertaking that there will be no more of such practices or any other which are anti-competitive in nature as well as to publicize its plan on remedial actions in the newspapers to regain the customers’ confidence.