The Straits Times reported today that EM Services was found guilty of refusing to supply spare parts to third-party contractors. The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) released a statement yesterday (14 Jul) that after receiving a complaint alleging that several companies were refusing to supply lift spare parts to third-party contractors for the maintenance of lifts, it launched an investigation into “restrictive industry practices” in the supply of lift parts in HDB estates.
in the statement CCS said that refusal by a dominant or sole supplier to supply certain essential products or services, that cannot otherwise be obtained, can be illegal and in breach of the Competition Act.
It is not known for how long the problem has been ongoing, but a report was lodged with the watchdog on 12 June 2014 that EM Services (EMS) did not want to supply spare parts for BLT brand lifts to a third-party maintenance company. CCS took almost 2 years to arrive at its findings.
The watchdog also said in its report that it uncovered evidence to suggest that five other lift companies were involved in similar anti-competitive behaviour while it was investigating EMS.
EMS voluntarily approached CCS before it released its investigation findings and promised to open up sales of spare parts for BLT lifts to third parties.
EMS are the sole agent for the sale and installation of Chinese brand lifts, Shenyang Brilliant Elevators. EMS currently maintains BLT and KM Lifts.
EMS also maintains nine out of the 16 town councils in Singapore and controls 60 percent of the market share of the town council management business. EMS was also awarded the 7th, 10th and 19th term contract for the HDB Lift Upgrading Projects (LUP) comprising of 2,200 lifts.
A TODAY newspaper report suggested that even town councils under the People’s Action Party (PAP) Members of Parliament, had difficulties with EMS. Marine Parade Town Council chairman Lim Biow Chuan, Jurong-Clementi Town Council chairman Ang Wei Neng, and Chua Chu Kang Town Council chairman Zaqy Mohamad, all said that such anti-competitive behaviour limits their town councils from negotiating with lift companies to keep maintenance costs low for their residents.
EMS maintains East Coast-Fengshan, Holland-Bukit Panjang, Jalan Besar, Marsiling-Yew Tee, Nee Soon, Pasir Ris-Punggol, Sembawang, Tanjong Pagar and West Coast town councils.
The lifts in opposition held town council according to this website has the following brands, Mitsubishi, Fujitec, Dong Yong, Express, GEC and LG.
Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has said that the investigation findings of the watchdog as well as the recent mishaps in HDB lifts justify for a Commission of Inquiry to be convened to address public concerns.
In its statement SDP pointed out that “E M Services is owned by HDB and Keppel Land” and that “its staff had comprised serving PAP MPs”. The Party said the latest revelation poses several grave issues which the PAP government cannot avoid.