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The Malaysian Transport Ministry is reviewing possible regulations for ride-sharing services like Uber and GrabCar, according to a Berita Harian report. Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, Deputy Transport Minister, stated that these services are operating in a legal (unregulated) grey area at the moment.

He added that the ministry will soon conduct a workshop on the matter with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), with a report to be published after. “Among the factors that must be adhered to by these ride-sharing services is that they must possess a valid licence to offer this service and ensure their vehicles are checked periodically at Puspakom,” he said.

SPAD is currently in the process of making amendments to the Land Public Transport Act 2010 that will allow them to take direct action against these ride-sharing app providers (Uber and GrabCar). With private vehicle owners offering transport services through these apps, often times without valid permits and licences, this has sparked an outcry from regular taxi drivers.

Taxi Drivers Protest Against GrabCar 2

However, the government recognises the popularity of these ride-sharing services, especially among the youth, hence it is paying close attention to the issue. The study of possible regulations for the emerging industry is among the steps taken for the continued existence of these services.

To appease the cries of unfair competition from regular taxi drivers, Abdul Aziz also said Putrajaya will consider easing existing regulations for taxi firms and drivers to provide some cost savings to the two parties, including the extension of the compulsory vehicle inspection period from six months to one year. A new mini-taxi system could also be part of the regulation revamp.

Do you welcome this move by the Transport Ministry to introduce regulations for ride-sharing services in the country? Would such a move appease regular taxi drivers who feel like they have an unfair advantage compared to Uber and GrabCar drivers? Let us know what you think in the comments below.