Uber mulls mental health test for Malaysian drivers

Uber may implement mental health screening for its Malaysian drivers. — File pic
Uber may implement mental health screening for its Malaysian drivers. — File pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 — Uber is considering enforcing a mental health screening for its Malaysian drivers after the ride-sharing service implemented it in Mexico recently.

Uber’s head of global trust Bhavdeep Basin told Malay Mail Online that the move is part of the firm’s efforts to continually improve services, especially security measures to ensure the safety of customers.

Acknowledging that security screening was necessary for customers’ safety, Basin also argued that traditional methods may not be adequate to determine the suitability of drivers.

“Is it reliable to do a credit check? Is it reliable to do a crime check? Are you going to get a good data? So that’s why we are constantly innovating, what is truly a good indication as to whether this person is a good driver or not,” he told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview.

He also said Uber preferred its own evaluations over that of government-mandated checks, which he said may not be reliable indicators of safety.

Basin did not furnish, however, details of the psychometric testing module used in Mexico.

Uber and rival ride-sharing service GrabCar have disrupted the public transportation model both here and elsewhere, operating in a legal grey area with its use of private vehicles and drivers that are not required to undergo the same checks and licensing as their commercial counterparts.

Both firms have come up against vehement and sometimes violent opposition from traditional taxi services that argued the competition was unfair.

In July, Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) acknowledged that Uber and GrabCar are legal as a “service matching” businesses, but that the manner in which the companies operate is not.

SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said although the commission was unable to take any legal action against Uber and GrabCar, it was moving against unlicensed vehicles and drivers.

The Transport Ministry has since said it is weighing the legalisation of the ride-sharing services due to their popularity with the public, despite the initial threat of crackdown.

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