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Amendments are set to be made to the Land Public Transport Act 2010, and these will finally give the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) the authority to take action against transportation network companies (TNC) such as Uber and Grabcar.

These amendments, which are expected to be tabled in Parliament in October, include a provision to regulate mobile app providers offering any public transport, commercial transport and delivery services, The Sun reports.

The commission’s chairman, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, said that the existing laws are silent on mobile apps offering public transport services, and this meant that SPAD was finding it difficult to rein in foreign and local mobile apps such as Uber and GrabCar, which it says offers illegal public transport services.

He said that the move to regulate mobile apps is not to legalise services such as Uber, but to ensure all matters pertaining to public transport come under the commission. “In the future, we can take action directly against the parties involved should they breach the law,” he added.

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SPAD CEO Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal reiterated the point, telling the publication that the proposed amendments would exert control over such TNCs acting as a medium for public transport service. He said that while there is nothing wrong with any mobile app offering public transport services, the service is considered illegal when it dispatches a private vehicle with no valid permit and with a driver that does not have a PSV licence.

“We want to ensure that such services adhere to the service level and regulations set by us. The proposed amendments will plug the loopholes and address the Uber and GrabCar issues. SPAD is consulting the Attorney-General’s Chambers to draft the new law,” he said, adding that the amendments will take into account future apps concerning car pooling or the charging of passengers using unlicensed vehicles.

Taxi drivers have been demanding for the suspension of these app-based TNCs, which they say are taking away their livelihoods by undercutting their meter rates through underhanded means.

Last month, members of the Malaysian Taxi Drivers’ Transformation Association (PERS1M) held a protest outside the MyTeksi headquarters in Petaling Jaya to vocalise their concerns on the matter – there was a follow-up protest at the same location last week.