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KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's trade minister announced on Wednesday that the country is enacting a temporary freeze on applications to open new hypermarkets, Reuters reports. The decision was made to protect smaller retailers.
The official Bernama news agency quoted Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as saying that the freeze was effective immediately.
The ban covers local and foreign hypermarket operators, and also prevents companies from adding on to existing stores, Muhyiddin said.
France's Carrefour currently has six stores in Malaysia, and Britain's Tesco was expected to open its first store there next month. The AP reports it had planned to invest 1.2 billion ringgit ($316 million) to open 15 stores over the next five years.