PETALING JAYA: Online markets available on platforms such as TikTok have created “uneven competition” with businesses in physical premises, according to acting domestic trade and cost of living minister Armizan Ali.
In a written Dewan Rakyat reply today, Armizan said the imbalance came from the significantly lower prices of goods and services offered online.
Armizan said the shift from conventional trading at physical premises to online trading has affected both consumers and businesses.
“This includes positive impacts such as time and cost savings, expanded market access and more effective financial, stock and inventory management.
“However, online trading also brings challenges and has a negative impact on consumers and traders. You face online fraud, personal data breaches, unfair contract terms and market monopolies,” he said.
Armizan said the ministry was constantly monitoring e-commerce policies, regulations and laws to ensure the sector’s growth can continue to develop rapidly while simultaneously protecting the rights of users.
“The ministry is also conducting studies to improve existing regulatory mechanisms through several engagement sessions with industry representatives and consumer associations.”
He added that the ministry was also undertaking comparative studies on best international practices to update existing legislation and ensure a more sustainable and competitive regulation of the e-commerce sector.
Armizan was replying to Hishammuddin Hussein (BN-Sembrong), who asked the ministry to clarify to what extent online business platforms like TikTok Shop had affected brick-and-mortar businesses.
Last week, the communications and digital ministry said it would discuss the regulatory aspects of the TikTok Shop e-commerce platform with other ministries affected.
Communications and digital minister Fahmi Fadzil said a meeting was held between his deputy, Teo Nie Ching, and TikTok representatives on Thursday, where the ministry received basic information about the platform’s demographics and the goods sold within.