On social media, Grab faces backlash over safety measures after Sabah driver’s death

Grab driver Mohd Hanafiee Jaffar was reported missing on Saturday. A body that was found in Tuaran is currently in the process of being formally identified. — Picture via Facebook/Yinyin Ayin
Grab driver Mohd Hanafiee Jaffar was reported missing on Saturday. A body that was found in Tuaran is currently in the process of being formally identified. — Picture via Facebook/Yinyin Ayin

KOTA KINABALU, May 29 — E-hailing service Grab’s social media accounts have been flooded with angry comments following the death of one of its drivers here recently, after he was killed by two male passengers. 

Sabah-based Grab driver, Mohd Hanafiee Jaafar, was reported missing on Saturday when it later emerged that his last Grab request was at 4am that same morning where he picked up two men who wanted a ride from Kingfisher Park — where the victim lived — to Tuaran.

A 20-year-old local and 24-year-old foreigner were arrested on Monday night and according to Sabah police chief Datuk Omar Mammah, admitted to killing 27-year-old Hanafiee and disposing his body at Shahbandar in the Tuaran district.

A corpse was found there, in an advanced state of decomposition. Fingerprint analysis is underway to confirm its identity.

Police believe the motive was robbery.

Since then, Grab Malaysia’s latest Facebook post has received hundreds of comments on its safety measures, calling for the e-hailing ride to provide better security measures to protect its drivers.

One user, Johnny Gonzalez, said, “How many drivers need to die before you do something to ensure the safety of the drivers. Almost a year ago, a driver has already lost his life and yet, Grab did nothing useful to actually tackle such issues. You guys only issue uselsss [sic] statements such as ‘safer grab’ slogans which technically does nothing to ensure the safety of the drivers.

“Grab promised an emergency panic button on the app but until today, I still see nothing. Grab, 2 drivers had already lost their lives being slaughtered by riders not to mention the countless issues of robberies. Not only that, a few lives were also wasted waiting in Landside KLIA just to get a return trip and you pretend nothing happened. Shame on you Grab.”

Another user named Sofiy Mansor said, “Hey Grab, you are responsible for the death of 2 innocent grab drivers in Malaysia. I don’t know how your management can even sleep at night. While you reap the huge profit and give small margin to the drivers, i don’t see any radical and true commitment from Grab in protection the driver, and now with the new regulations and drivers need to pay money for new insurance and Grab comes with bullshit slogan of “berat sama dipikul”..

“This is the second case in a year after Aiman Nosri. Until when will Grab ignore the safety of its drivers? Facial recognition and Identity registration for its passengers perhaps? To register as a driver, you have to register all kinds of things,” said Jonathan Pullman.

On Twitter, user yunn1rahman said, “How many times must a driver be murdered but still @GrabMY won’t do anything. Tighten the conditions to sign up, like Airbnb, provide legal identification, not just email address or Facebook login”

Grab’s immediate corporate response to most comments was that it is aware of the issue and urged concerned parties to “rest on this”.

“Hi there! The authorities is [sic] aware of this issue and certainly there’s [sic] investigation going on. Kindly rest on this while the enforcement team takes care of this. This is purely to protect and ensure the privacy of the driver’s family and loved ones are not interrupted. Your understanding and cooperation in this matter is certainly appreciated. Thank you,” the company said on its Facebook page.

Malay Mail tried contacting Grab for comments on the incident but was told no statement would be issued yet while it deals with the police.

The incident has shaken up Grab drivers around the country, and particularly in Sabah, where drivers and users are now circulating a list of 19 “black areas” around the state capital which are allegedly dangerous after 9pm.

People who rely on Grab for rides have also been affected, with some commenting that drivers will not pick them up from certain areas which they claim have a “bad reputation”.

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