The Malaysian Government has introduced the Trade Descriptions Bill 2011 (“Bill”) which will repeal the Trade Descriptions Act 1972 (“1972 Act”). The Bill is enacted to reform the law on trade description. The purpose of the Bill is to promote good trade practices by prohibiting false trade descriptions and false or misleading statements, conduct and practices in relation to supply of goods and services, thereby protecting the interest of consumers.
The notable differences between the Bill and the 1972 Act are as follow:-
- Trade Description Orders (“TDO”) is now limited to registered trade marks. The 1972 Act allows trade description orders for common law and registered trade marks (s. 9)
- The life span of a TDO is now shortened to 1 year unless renewed (s. 9).
- It is an offence under the Bill to hold a sham contest (s. 20)
- Defences of personal and domestic use are now available for individuals (s. 23)
- The Minister is empowered to assign any expressions used in relation to goods or services as having definite meanings. The Minister may by order assign such meanings either to expressions when it is used in the course of trade or business or when it is used in such circumstances as may be specified in the order (ss. 28 and 29). How this section is used is unclear but it is likely to related to the appointment of Jakim as the sole issuer of Halal certification and logo in the country.
- Tipping off is now an offence (s. 44)
- Evidence of agent provocateur is admissible (s. 53)
- Informers can be reward for their role in providing evidence leading to the conviction. Reward will be from payment of any part of the fine (s. 66)
Download: Trade Descriptions Bill 2011