KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 — A group claiming to be the rightful representatives of the taxi driver community criticised Big Blue Taxi Facilities adviser Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail for claiming to be their spokesman during a recent meeting with the Transport Ministry.
The group called Gabungan Teksi SeMalaysia (GTSM), which held a peaceful gathering at Padang Merbok this morning, also raised concerns over the contents of a meeting between Shamsubahrin and Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
“Who are you? We are the real taxi drivers and we are the ones who should meet Anthony,” said Fazli Fathil, president of the Elite Driver Kuala Lumpur group, an association under GTSM.
“This guy, Datuk Shamsubahrin, he is not a representative for taxis.
“We are disputing why Anthony Loke asked Shamsubahrin to meet him to represent us taxi drivers.
“What you promised and discussed, we have no idea,” he said.
Fazli added the group would give Loke 14 days from today to reveal what was discussed during the meeting in November.
“If nothing is done in 14 days, we will make a petition and hand a report to the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the meeting and its contents,” he said.
In the demonstration today, around 50 drivers gathered at Padang Merbok where they also gave a press conference. Some brought placards outlining their demands of the government.
Loke had on Nov 26 announced that e-hailing drivers would have to register for the Public Service Vehicle licence beginning January next year, following a meeting with Shamsubahrin.
The meeting was seen as a move to pacify Shamsubahrin, who had at that time intended to organise a mass gathering in protest of e-hailing laws the government had passed, which cabbies claimed were unfair.
From the inception of e-hailing services, taxi drivers have complained of an uneven playing field stemming from the more lax requirements imposed on ride-hailing counterparts.
Also speaking at today’s gathering was GTSM president Kamarudin Mohd Hussain, who outlined the group’s eight claims.
Among these were for the ministry to temporarily freeze all registration of new e-hailing drivers until their licensing issue is resolved.
“If there is a need for more drivers, then they can open up registrations, but until then we want for all new registrations to be frozen,” said Kamarudin.
The group is also demanding the government make it compulsory for e-hailing drivers to obtain commercial vehicle ownership grants and insurances, and for the cars to include permanent labels and also be subjected to annual Puspakom inspections.
Also among their requests is for the government to take over, regulate, and standardise their fares, commission rates, and operational areas, on top of stricter enforcement by relevant authorities.
Kamarudin added similar gatherings were said to be held across the nation this morning, all at 10am, excluding Perak, Terengganu, and Perlis.