KUALA LUMPUR, 26 April 2018 – ASEAN officials from the competition and telecommunications sectors attended a workshop on competition policy and telecommunications regulation on 25-26 April in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Attended by 54 ASEAN officials from the competition and telecommunications sectors, as well as officials from Australia and New Zealand, the workshop examined the competition-related issues facing the telecommunication sector in the region, as well as the complementarity of competition and regulatory instruments. It also offered an opportunity to establish and strengthen the relationships between ASEAN competition and telecommunications regulators.

ASEAN Member States recognise that maintaining competition within the telecommunications sector is integral to ensure consumers receive the best quality of goods and services. To ensure a level playing field within the sector, the ASEAN considers it pertinent for competition and telecommunications regulators to strengthen their cooperation. A competitive market is expected to lead to innovation-driven products and services where consumers will have more choices at competitive rates.

Datin Seri Ruzaina Wan Hanif, a member of the Malaysia Competition Commission, said that the workshop was another valuable platform to enhance the capabilities of competition authorities in ASEAN.

“This occasion is very important for Malaysia and other participating countries in getting valuable insights and exchange of views from experts involved in this workshop,” said Datin Seri. “The knowledge and experience obtained after this Workshop will contribute greatly to the continued progress of competition law in Malaysia as well as in other ASEAN countries, which will further elevate the role of competition law in driving our nations’ ambitions and effectiveness in this age of regional cooperation and integration,” she added.

The two-day workshop provided participants with a background on key notable developments on the ASEAN competition laws and developments in the telecommunication sector, as well as practical advices on how to strengthen the relationships between the competition and telecommunications regulators. A number of case studies and practical examples specific to the sector were presented by speakers from all ASEAN Member States.

Attorney Maria Xandralyn Molina of the Philippines National Telecommunications Commission, representing the chair of the ASEAN Telecommunications Regulators Council, underlined that the council recognised that competition laws and policies were essential part of the institutional and regulatory framework needed for ASEAN Member States to address current market challenges.

“This workshop has provided a good avenue to discuss current issues affecting competition in the telecommunications sector and how telecommunications regulators and competition authorities can work together to achieve each of our goals,” said Attorney Maria.

The workshop was facilitated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), in partnership with the Malaysia Competition Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat. It was part of the Competition Law Implementation Program which is managed by the ACCC under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (Economic Cooperation Support Program. CLIP aims to assist all ASEAN Member States in developing the requisite institutional capacity to effectively implement their respective competition regulations by 2025 and enhance their regional cooperation.