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Taxi drivers in Malaysia have been urged to focus their efforts into improving their services and image instead of protesting against ride-sharing services such as Uber, GrabCar and the like. “Taxi drivers must find ways to improve their services such as providing a comfortable ride, be friendly and use a fare meter,” a spokesman for the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) told the New Straits Times.

“Taxi drivers must understand that it is they who opened up the opportunity for alternative ride services to rise because of their poor services to passengers,” added the spokesperson. Said comment was made in relation to the recent case involving a group of taxi drivers who were caught on video harassing Uber/GrabCar vehicles in the vicinity of KLCC.

“Not only their action is against the law, but they also have just created a negative perception to public with their gangster-like attitude,” said the SPAD spokesperson. “We don’t encourage taxi drivers to take matters to their own hands as they don’t have a legal right to do so. Each action taken must be according to the law and everyone must respect the law.”

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Aside from the recent commotion at KLCC, another group of taxi drivers were responsible for staging an ambush on a GrabCar operative during a protest at SPAD’s headquarters in Kelana Jaya. A member of the group had earlier requested for a car via said platform to lure the driver in. As soon as the driver arrived, the group prevented him from leaving the scene before urging SPAD officials to conduct an arrest.

As for its efforts in helping to curb the rise of illegal taxis, SPAD has confirmed that it has seized a total of 132 vehicles since October 2014. Of the total, 89 cars were driven by GrabCar operatives while a further 43 were driven by Uber operatives. Drivers caught providing transport services without a valid license will have their cars confiscated, fined up to RM10,000 and/or served with a one-year prison sentence.

Also, the commission will, along with the Road Transport Department (JPJ), continue to blacklist private car owners who provide illegal transport services. The suspected drivers will be identified and called in for an interview with the commission. Should the driver fail to turn up or submit his/her car for inspection after numerous notices, they will be prevented from renewing their road tax.