PM’s call for poor Malaysians to become Uber drivers lauded

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured leaving Parliament after the tabling of Budget 2017. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured leaving Parliament after the tabling of Budget 2017. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — A public transport advocacy group and Uber welcomed today Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's call to impoverished Malaysians to become Uber drivers to earn extra income.

National Public Transport Users (4PAM) president Ajit Johl said that the changes in policies, especially on ride-share applications, and continued spending on the country's public transport system would bring about a "long overdue" positive change in the public transportation landscape, especially in the Klang Valley.

"The MRT line, which is expected to have a ridership of 1.2 million users, is much awaited and we hope will change the mindset of users and encourage the use of public transport.

"We also welcome the government's decision to encourage rakyat to become drivers and use of "ride share" apps and it is in line with the direction to move towards a digital economy," Johl said in a statement.

In his speech in the Dewan Rakyat today, Najib said that to assist the Bottom 40 (B40) income group, especially BR1M (Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia) recipients, Putrajaya will encourage their participation as ride-sharing drivers such as Uber drivers, particularly those who own vehicles.

Najib explained that Malaysians with full-time jobs are able to make up to RM1,500 extra a month by being part-time drivers.

As an incentive, Putrajaya will also help those without vehicles to purchase their own transport by giving a rebate of RM4,000 for a Proton Iriz and for down payment to be made via the BR1M government cash aid.

Uber Malaysia general manager Leon Foong expressed delight over the announcement, adding that it is a recognition of Uber’s positive impact on the B40 group’s socioeconomic status.

“We are also thrilled to be engaging Proton, the national car manufacturer, as a partner, and will make an announcement with more details soon,” Foong said in a statement.

“This is the first of its kind in the world for Uber. Just as Uber has been a key pioneer in the ridesharing industry, Proton has also pioneered the automotive industry in Malaysia. We share the same vision to drive Malaysia forward through technological innovation and creating economic opportunities,” he added.

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