Does move violate fair competition rules?

By 2023, the Ministry of Education plans to run 50 kindergartens, all of which will be based in primary schools (MOE kindergarten pupils to get priority in P1 entry; Nov 28).

Children who attend these pre-schools will be given priority in Primary 1 admission to the primary school that shares a compound with their kindergarten.

Many experts have voiced their concern over the new measure (Experts worry about pressure at K1 stage; Nov 28).

Ms Denise Phua, who heads the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, said priority admission "provides additional benefits to MOE kindergartens compared with other pre-schools", while Dr Khoo Kim Choo, who founded the Preschool for Multiple Intelligences, called it "an uneven playing field".

The Competition Commission of Singapore, on its website, notes that practices which restrict competition and abuse a dominant position are considered examples of anti-competitive behaviour and are prohibited under the Competition Act.

Is the MOE's latest move unconsciously violating the Competition Act?

Goh Kok Hiong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2017, with the headline 'Does move violate fair competition rules?'. Print Edition | Subscribe