Malaysia-Taxi-02

The taxi vs ride-sharing war continues, and now the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has been drawn directly into the melee. The Star reports that the commission is being sued by 102 taxi drivers for alleged negligence in taking action to ban Uber, Grabcar and Blacklane.

The drivers, who claim the three transportation network companies are affecting their livelihoods, have formed an ad hoc action committee from 29 taxi associations and are applying for a permanent injunction to compel SPAD not to legalise the activities and operations of the three operators, claiming that the companies have not received approval from the authorities to ferry passengers.

In the statement of claim, taxi driver Abdul Aziz Lebai Milin and 101 other taxi drivers named SPAD as the sole defendant. The drivers are looking to obtain a declaration from the High Court for SPAD to ban these three operators within seven days of a court order. They are also seeking general damages, interest, costs and relief deemed fit by the court.

The group filed the lawsuit at the High Court civil registry through lawyer R. Kengadharan, who said his clients filed the suit to ensure “fair play” and healthy competition to improve the transport industry. He said that his clients’ incomes had been affected by the three operators, who used personal vehicles for commercial purposes.

Syed-Hamid-Albar

Committee chairman Zailani Isa Usuludin said the taxi drivers were defending their rights, as their source of income had been seriously affected, and they had lost almost 60% of their daily take to ride-sharing services.

“We have to support our families. We work for 16 hours but only get between RM150 and RM160. We have to pay for costs for car rental, petrol and maintenance, and to the respective companies. How to survive with the balance of RM30 after all those deductions?” said Zailani.

Earlier in the week, SPAD had said it was being made the scapegoat over issues relating to ride-sharing services. Commission chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said that certain quarters, including government agencies, had been dodging responsibility in solving the “illegal taxi” services offered via smartphone apps, and the commission was being faulted.

“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 said.