Taxi Drivers Protest Against GrabCar 1

Taxi drivers are demanding that the government come up with a final decision on whether it will legalise ride-sharing services like Uber and GrabCar here in Malaysia. Should that come true, the taxi group claims that will abolish the taxi industry altogether.

Speaking to The Sun Daily, Klang Valley Taxi Drivers Action Committee (JKBPTLK) chairman Zailani Isa Usuludin said “let’s be clear about it now so that we (cabbies) can switch to becoming a teksi sapu driver, if that’s what the government wants to do by legalising them (Uber and GrabCar) and allowing private vehicles to offer ride services.”

Zailani wants to government to be up front on the matter, whether to bow to public demand in legalising such services. The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) recently initiated an online survey to garner feedback on taxi services in Malaysia.

The survey revealed that a large majority of respondents were favourable to ride-sharing services. When queried about the SPAD survey, Zailani replied: “if that’s what the public is demanding, the government should just wipe out the taxi industry including taxi companies and legal taxi drivers.”

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He also lambasted a top government official that went for a ride in an Uber vehicle, before endorsing the ride-sharing service. “This is a senior government official giving his approval to illegal taxi services and indirectly asking the public to break the law as Road Transport Department (JPJ) has stated that Uber service is illegal. Is it legal now to use Uber ride-sharing?” Zailani questioned.

However, others view the existence of Uber and GrabCar in Malaysia as a positive. Finance Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah had stated, “the existence of an alternative taxi service should not be a problem for taxi operators because users will choose them if they provide better service at reasonable fares.”

He said this during a #MyUberPitch programme held that took place last Friday. He added that Uber’s business would provide opportunities to Malaysians, especially low income earners, to supplement their income, which is in line with the government’s efforts to attain a high-income economy.

The Uber, GrabCar saga has left many taxi drivers disgruntled, with some taking their frustrations to the streets in protest. It has been reported that the SPAD is in process of making amendments to the Land Public Transport Act 2010, which will allow it to take action against the app providers themselves, a move out of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) scope.