Malaysia's state government has been lobbied by small businesses to prevent large hypermarkets from setting up near residential areas, because they have an unfair commercial advantage over smaller competitors vying for the same customers.

Speaking at the State Legislative Assembly yesterday [Wednesday], Low Teh Hian said that local authorities should lay out clear guidelines for hypermarket applications.

In Western countries, agreed Baharom Ghani, hypermarkets are required to be situated a certain distance away from residential areas: "They were supposed to be an alternative to the small businesses and not rivals."

Datuk Jimmy Low, chairman of the State Local Government Committee, was adamant however that the authorities already have adequate guidelines.