KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Grabcar will soon be required to purchase the same commercial insurance as regular taxis to continue operating on Malaysian roads, the deputy transport minister said today.
Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi added, however, that the implementation will only be later in the year and once the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has obtained adequate feedback from the public.
“When the government regulates it, definitely we will need to install certain elements of the current taxi system into theirs,” he said when asked if ride-sharing services like Uber will be required to purchase commercial insurance policies.
“We have discussed with SPAD and they’ve done their lab and what I was briefed is that they’ll try to regulate these apps so there some suggestion to create new approach like setting up taxi network operators,” he said during a press conference after launching the Road Safety Campaign in conjunction with the upcoming Chinese New Year festive season.
He added that while SPAD was gathering feedback about Uber and Grabcar, the ministry will also look into alleviating costs for existing taxi drivers by reducing the frequency of their mandatory Puspakom inspections that cost RM50 each time.
He said this may be extended to once a year instead of the bi-annual requirement now.
Uber and GrabCar are competing firms that operate ride-sharing services in which private vehicle owners may offer transport services for hire without the permits and licences needed to operate a commercial taxi.
Taxi drivers and firms have complained that Uber and GrabCar vehicles are competing unfairly as they do not face the same legal requirements as the former groups. They have also accused the SPAD of failing to act against the two services that they insist are illegal.
The acrimony has resulted in sometimes violent altercations involving irate taxi drivers and those from the two ride-sharing services.