Transport Minister: Indonesian ride-hailing Go-Jek considers entering Malaysian market

A Go-jek driver rides his motorcycle through a business district street in Jakarta June 9, 2015. — Reuters pic
A Go-jek driver rides his motorcycle through a business district street in Jakarta June 9, 2015. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — Indonesia’s ride-hailing Go-Jek has expressed interest to operate in Malaysia.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke was quoted in a recent interview with The Edge as saying Go-Jek paid him a visit one month ago, expressing their interest in entering the Malaysian market.

“I said our country is open to foreign investment. If they want to open a company here, they are welcome to do so. I hear they are in the process of setting up a company here,” he said.

Although Loke reminded Go-Jek that Malaysia has regulations for e-hailing operators, he did not foresee any problems of them coming here to start operations, as well as injecting more competition into the e-hailing market.

Loke also declined to elaborate on whether Go-Jek has formally applied for the requisite approvals, beyond saying he is not aware of that.

This appears to be a reversal of his earlier stance on July 31 last year, when he said there are no plans to introduce motorcycle ride-hailing services in the country.

Replying to a question by Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin in Parliament previously, Loke had said his personal view is that Malaysia is not yet ready to introduce it since it would mean even more motorcycles on the road when their accident rates are already ‘very high’.

However, he added that if there is a specific proposal, then the matter could be studied at length by the Land Public Transport Commission.

The company’s co-founder Kevin Aluwi had said in January that they are contemplating to operate in Malaysia, but had yet to make a firm decision.

The Edge reported Indonesian operator PT Aplikasi Karya Anak Bangsa, popularly known as Go-Jek, started out in 2010 as a motorcycle ride-hailing service to ferry passengers around.

Since then it has also provided car transport as well as lifestyle services including online payments, food delivery, and grocery shopping.

Although in existence for longer than Grab, which began operations in 2012, Go-Jek only began expanding outside of Indonesia sometime last year.

Now active in regional neighbours including Thailand and Vietnam, Go-Jek also entered Singapore half a year ago. Per its website, it operates in 50 cities across Southeast Asia.