KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Putrajaya will not allow motorcycles to be used as public transport like in some southeast Asian countries as it is a regressive move, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi said yesterday.
He said Malaysia wants to be modern, and allowing two-wheeled public transport such as those common in Thailand and Indonesia would be counter-productive to this aim.
"We don't want to go backwards like Jakarta or Bangkok. We want to be an advanced country like in Singapore and London with proper public transport.
"We don't want to be a substandard city like in Jakarta, Indonesia that relies on motorcycles as a mode of public transport. We don't want Kuala Lumpur to go backwards, we want to be on par with Singapore and London," he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
A local company called Dego Ride has come under fire from the government for running a two-wheeled taxi service as an alternative public transportation system in the highly-congested Klang Valley.
Ab Aziz said that while the government allowed ride-hailing car services like Uber and Grab to operate, motorcycles are too dangerous to be sanctioned for a similar operation.
"We have never allowed for motorcycles to be a taxi service. This is because of safety reasons, there are a lot of factors that can be dangerous," he said.
The deputy minister also said the Road Transport Department will crack down on Dego if the company persists with its motorcycle taxi services.
"Motorcycles are only meant to be used as private vehicles and cannot operate as taxis. We have never given motorcycles permissions to be a taxi service," Ab Aziz said.
Instead, the Sri Gading MP suggested the Dego motorcycle service operators to venture out into providing "mini-taxies" with cars below 1,500cc that would be better suited for the country.
"There is no room for motorcycles but we have already allowed low-powered cars to operate as taxis.
"Instead of a motorcycle taxi service you can embark on a mini taxi service. A small car is okay but motorcycles are dangerous," Ab Aziz said.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai was on Monday reported saying that the service was illegal and must be discontinued immediately for “safety reasons”.
He also warned that enforcement officers could pose as passengers to nab motorcyclists offering rides under Dego.
Dego Ride founder and CEO Nabil Feisal Bamadhaj has since been reported to have ordered its 6,000 motorcyclists to stop providing taxi services immediately pending talks with the authorities.
“We order our riders to stop operations immediately because we do not want them to break the law.
“We also want to cooperate with the authorities so this issue can be resolved well,” he was quoted as saying by Malay news portal mStar Online last Monday.