Syed-Hamid-Albar

The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is being made the scapegoat over issues relating to ride-sharing services like Uber and GrabCar, according to its chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar. He said said certain quarters, including government agencies, have been dodging responsibility in solving the “illegal taxi” services offered via smartphone apps.

In a report by The Sun, Syed Hamid said, “many people are just happy to point fingers at SPAD, even though that’s not our area of responsibility. In the end, we have been blamed for many things, we are like a punching bag, while the media are happy to provide space to hit out at SPAD.”

He also condemned the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for claiming that it did not receive a request from SPAD to take action against the Uber app. On Nov 30, Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia Datuk Jailani Johari had told the Dewan Rakyat that MCMC had yet to receive a request from SPAD to take action against Uber app.

Malaysia-Taxi-02

“It is not true that SPAD didn’t contact MCMC on Uber app or request them to take action. We have had meetings with MCMC about this for quite a while. We had several discussions and they (MCMC) are not willing to do that as it may be read as interfering with the internet or censoring an app service,” said Syed Hamid.

Syed Hamid also stated that the MCMC had evaded its responsibility to take action against the ride-sharing apps even though cyberspace, tech and mobile app matters are well within its scope of operation. The MCMC currently deems ride-sharing apps a legal service.

The Transport Ministry and its supposed legalisation of ride-sharing services in Malaysia was also condemned by Syed Hamid. “This topic of legalising never arises at all. SPAD’s position is very clear from the beginning – legalising Uber does not arise and statements coming from the Transport Ministry are confusing and making us (SPAD) look bad as if we are set to execute this move of legalising Uber.

Taxi Drivers Protest Against GrabCar 1

“It was the Transport Ministry which made the statements while SPAD has yet to make any announcement or finalise our plan with regards to Uber, GrabCar or any ride-hailing apps which utilise private vehicles. And I am surprised that the Transport Ministry is getting ahead of themselves,” he stated.

The ongoing ride-sharing saga has left several taxi drivers disgruntled, with some looking to take legal action against SPAD, which Syed Hamid responded to by saying, “in the first place, they (cabbies) are taking legal action based on speculation. As far as we are concerned, we have not made any decision (on Uber). I think the taxi drivers are pointing their finger at the wrong party here.”

However, Syed Hamid stated that even though SPAD will participate in a workshop with the Transport Ministry on the possibility of regulating ride-sharing services, any proposal to revitalise the taxi industry soon still needs to be presented to Cabinet.