KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — The proposal by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to legalise Uber and Grab will not augur well for the taxi industry in the country, the Malaysian Taxi Drivers Transformation Association (PERS1M) said today.
PERS1M vice-chairman Kamaruddin Mohd Hussain added that such a move would badly affect the revenue of cabbies and urged SPAD to consider their welfare.
“I don’t understand what is the purpose of legalising these ride-sharing applications when there are already enough taxis in the country. What is SPAD’s motive?
“Should they not look at the welfare of taxi drivers first?” he told Malay Mail Online.
Kamaruddin said taxi drivers were required to undergo twice yearly checks with the Road Transport Department and demanded the government similarly make it mandatory for Uber and Grab drivers if approval were to be given.
“Once Uber and Grab are legalised, the government should also ensure that these vehicles are patterned or stamped with their respective companies’ logo like our taxi so people can differentiate between the two,” he said.
The proposal by SPAD seeks to legalise current technology-driven demand patterns to regulate e-hailing services such as Uber and Grab, and also level the playing field for existing taxi drivers to ensure healthy competition.
In a statement yesterday, SPAD said it also recommended the issuance of new individual taxi licences to drivers with clean track records to encourage entrepreneurial spirit at the individual level.
On this proposal, Kamaruddin said he was uninformed of such a move by SPAD, adding that his association was not invited to any prior meetings with the commission to discuss the matter.
“On June 8, PERS1M together with several stakeholders such as Fomca met up with SPAD and the deputy transport minister and in that meeting the minister urged SPAD to include us in meetings before making any decision,” he said, using the acronym for the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association.
“This seems like SPAD has acted behind the minister’s back,” he added.
PERS1M has been strongly objecting against Uber and Grab for almost a year now.
The group has also filed a legal suit against both companies, accusing the two ride-sharing services of stealing their customers.