SPAD denies not taking action against Uber drivers

SPAD was unable to block access to the Uber app because Uber Malaysia Sdn Bhd has a telco licence from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. — File picture by K.E. Ooi
SPAD was unable to block access to the Uber app because Uber Malaysia Sdn Bhd has a telco licence from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. — File picture by K.E. Ooi

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PETALING JAYA, March 22 — Following accusations by taxi drivers, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has denied it has not been serious in taking action against Uber vehicles and drivers.

“From last October to now, we have impounded 28 cars — 17 offering Uber services, 10 under GrabCar and one Blacklane luxury car — offering illegal transport services to the public. Of the 28, 11 are privately owned,” said SPAD enforcement chief Datuk Paduka Che Hasni Che Ahmad.

“These 28 vehicles committed 53 offences under the SPAD Act 2010 and we have sought court orders for the government to claim the vehicles so they can be auctioned.”

The vehicles in custody at the SPAD storage depot include Mercedes Benz (E200, E230 & S280), Toyota Camry, Kia Optima K5, Nissan (Teana, Sylphy and Almera), Hyundai Elantra and Perodua Myvi.

“Uber exploited the car-for-hire permits issued for to car rental or car leasing companies,” said Che Hasni.

It is understood the vehicles were not registered under Uber, GrabCar and Blacklane. Uber and Blacklane only offer cashless payment while GrabCar offers cash as mode of payment.

“These apps providers do not own any vehicles. For example, Uber hires a local firm to source cars from car rental or car leasing companies to cater for the bookings and, at the same time, supply the drivers,” Che Hasni said.

“Uber does not deal directly with car rental companies because it acts as a middleman.

“In other words, Uber is merely a ‘matchmaker’ by offering chauffeuring services via app, rather than a public transport provider.”

SPAD was unable to block access to the Uber app because Uber Malaysia Sdn Bhd has a telco licence from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

Che Hasni said it was difficult to identify vehicles offering these services because they worked under the guise of driver transporting people using private vehicles.

“We had to go undercover as customers for several months to nab these drivers and seize their vehicles because we couldn’t detain anyone at roadblocks,” he said.

“They are not easily identified because they look like regular road users driving around chauffeuring people.”

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