E-hailing driver claims molest by male passenger

A male passenger’s hand is seen reaching across to touch the driver in this freeze-frame from a video clip provided by Syed Rosli.
A male passenger’s hand is seen reaching across to touch the driver in this freeze-frame from a video clip provided by Syed Rosli.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — In possibly the first case in Malaysia, a male driver has accused a passenger of the same gender of molesting him during a ride-share in the city this morning.

Driver Syed Rosli Syed Harman told Malay Mail Online that he had picked up the male passenger who was using the Uber app to go to a condominium in Sri Petaling from Old Klang Road.

It was while they were on the Maju Expressway that he claimed the passenger, seated beside him, suddenly reached across and touched his private parts.

“He touched my private parts, and I scolded him, I said ‘What are you doing?’, then he just smiled.

“But I did not argue further because I was also scared in case he also has a weapon. Just complete the job and drop him off and lodged a report to Uber,” Syed Rosli related when contacted.

Syed Rosli said the male passenger immediately stopped touching him after the scolding and that no further untoward incident happened after that.

Syed Rosli also provided Malay Mail Online with a video clip of the incident from what looked to be taken from a dashboard camera.

He said this is the first time he encountered such an incident since he drove for Uber in 2013.

He said he does not have the passenger’s contact details, but believes the police will be getting in touch with Uber to identify and track down the man.

He has filed a complaint at the Sri Petaling police station and will also be giving a further statement to the police at the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.

Uber told Malay Mail Online that it is aware of the incident.

“What has been described by the driver-partner has no place on the Uber network. Please be assured that we take such allegations seriously and our community guidelines expressly prohibit any kind of inappropriate behaviour on a trip.

“The rider no longer has access to the app while investigations into the matter are pending. We also stand ready to assist the parties involved and the authorities in their investigation,” the Uber spokesman said in a statement to Malay Mail Online.

Syed Rosli also drives for another e-hailing service, Grab, and said he is the chairman of a recently set-up organisation called Persatuan Pemandu Uber, Grab dan Zeppon.

He said he was happy that Uber has updated and legitimate information on passengers as they are required to register using their credit cards or debit cards.

He said Grab allows passengers to be registered simply by using their handphone numbers and email addresses, which he claimed could be manipulated and make it difficult to track down passengers in such incidents.

He urged the authorities to tighten passenger registration policy for ride-sharing services in order to better protect both passengers and drivers, saying that passengers could instead be made to register using their identification cards or passports.

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