KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — Malaysia’s first bike-hailing firm hopes the government will prioritise local companies amid anticipation of Indonesia-based Go-Jek’s entry into the country.

Nabil Feisal Bamadhaj, who founded Dego Ride in late 2016 and operated in Johor before the Najib administration banned it, urged the Pakatan Harapan government to allow home-grown firms to build a name for themselves.

“My wish is that Dego Ride can be provided a certain niche market in the ride-hailing service market, for us to flourish in it. You can still allow competitors, but we can have a niche market where we can specialise in,” he told newsportal Free Malaysia Today.

Dego Ride was the first company to launch a motorcycle taxi service in Malaysia in 2016, but was declared illegal by the Transport Ministry in January 2017 due to safety concerns.

Go-Jek is an Indonesian motorcycle ride hailing company founded by Nadiem Makarim that’s been operational since late 2010 and is also running in Thailand and Vietnam under the names GET and Go-Viet respectively.

Nadiem, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and Transport Minister Anthony Loke met Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad last Monday to discuss the possibility of allowing bike-hailing in Malaysia.

Two days later, Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof said the Cabinet has agreed in principle to the idea, and Loke added that such a service won’t be limited to Go-Jek to prevent a monopoly.

Nabil told the news portal that he welcomed the announcement and sees it as a way to restart Dego Ride.

To date, motorcycle e-hailing exists in nearly a dozen countries ranging from Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Indonesia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.