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Harikumar Pillay

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Hari is a principal in the Competition & Antitrust Practice Group at Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow. His practice covers competition law and regulation-related advisory work in Singapore and the Southeast Asia region. Hari was the Director of the Enforcement Division at the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore ("CCCS"), where he supervised the CCCS’s Intelligence Unit and IT Forensics Taskforce, in addition to the supervision of case teams on various investigations, mergers and notifications. He was also responsible for managing leniency applications made to the CCCS, overseeing the secret complainant and reward schemes, planning and executing dawn raids, and recording investigative statements of persons under investigations. Hari led teams involved in defending appeals brought against the CCCS’s decisions before the Competition Appeals Board. Prior to joining the Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow, Hari completed stints in private practice and as a Justices' Law Clerk with the Singapore Legal Service.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore will issue a Business Collaboration Guidance Note to provide businesses with more clarity on common horizontal, vertical and lateral collaborations between competitors. The draft Guidance Note also aims at encouraging collaborations that have pro-competitive effects. It covers six common types of business collaborations: information sharing, joint production, joint commercialization, joint purchasing, joint research and development, and standardization.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore’s (CCCS) Guidance Note on Collaborations between Competitors in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic (“COVID-19 Guidance Note”) expires on 31 July 2021. The CCCS intends to issue a Business Collaboration Guidance Note to ‘provide businesses with more clarity on common collaborations between competitors’. This is so that ‘businesses can collaborate in compliance with competition law with greater confidence’.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) commenced public consultation on its proposed amendments to the Guidelines on the Appropriate Amount of Penalty in Competition Cases (“Penalty Guidelines”) on 16 July 2021. The proposed amendments clarify the CCCS’s policy position on the treatment of undertakings that did not play a leader, instigator or proactive participant role in an infringement; and illustrate when “substantially limited involvement” by an undertaking in an infringement of the section 34 prohibition under the Competition Act (Cap 50b) (“Act”) would amount to a mitigating factor. The closing date for public consultation submissions is 5 August 2021.

Four new deliverables were introduced after a mid-term review of the original ASEAN Competition Action Plan 2016-2025. These include a new ASEAN Information Portal on Merger Cases, a new ASEAN Investigation Manual on Competition Policy and Law for the Digital Economy, initiatives to promote discussions between heads of competition authorities on the harmonization of competition policy and law, and a refreshed regional capacity building roadmap for 2021 to 2025.

Over the past year or so, the regulatory regime for merger control in Indonesia has seen significant changes. In October 2019, the Indonesian Business Competition Supervisory Commission (“KPPU”) issued a new rule on assessments of M&A transactions (“2019 Rule”), which was further clarified by the guidelines issued in October 2020 (“2020 Merger Guide”).

We discussed these issues in the webinar on “Navigating Merger Control Rules in Cross-Border M&A Transactions” broadcasted on 17 December 2020.

The Fast Track Procedure (FTP) introduced in December 2016 by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has been applied for the first time in a bid-rigging decision involving three water features maintenance businesses (CU Water Services, Crystalene Product (S) and Crystal Clear Contractor) (“Infringement Decision”). In exchange for admission of liability and cooperation with the CCCS in respect of their infringement of the prohibition against anti-competitive agreements under section 34 of the Competition Act (Cap. 50B), Crystalene Product (S) and Crystal Clear Contractor benefitted from a 10% reduction on their respective penalties under the FTP. This is in addition to discounts made available to them under the CCCS’s leniency regime by virtue of their leniency applications.  

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has issued an infringement decision (“Infringement Decision”) against three businesses engaged in the provision of maintenance services for water features. CU Water Services , Crystalene Product (S) and Crystal Clear Contractor (“Parties”) were directed to pay financial penalties totalling approximately S$420,000 for infringing section 34 of the Competition Act (Cap. 50B) and for participating in bid-rigging conduct relating to tenders called for the provision of maintenance services for pools, ponds, etc.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) accepted voluntary undertakings from the owners and operators of the “ABC Bargain Centre,” “Valu$” and “ABC Express” retail outlets (collectively “Parties”), to cease the use of “Closing Down Sale” and “Fire Sale” advertisements from 30 September 2020. The CCCS noted that using such advertisements when firms are neither ceasing operations nor are in financial distress can constitute an unfair practice in breach of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (Cap. 52A) (CPFTA) as they can mislead consumers into believing that there is a price benefit, which would only be available for a limited period.