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Despite facing a number of challenges, Uber driver partners are expected to grow in Malaysia this year, The Star reports. The company expects to see a total of 100,000 new drivers in 2016 – a major reason for this can be attributed to the increasingly challenging economy.

General manager of Uber Malaysia, Leon Foong said, “these part-time opportunities just make a lot of sense in terms of increasing incomes while serving people who need rides.” He added, “we plan to create 100,000 new flexible economic opportunities in Malaysia to meet the economic challenges that Malaysians face.”

So far, there are a total of 60,000 Uber driver partners in the Klang Valley and in relation to the higher recruitment this year, Foong said, “there are seven million people living in the Klang Valley, so we’re just getting started.” According to him, new products that “maximise time and seat efficiency” are intended for a launch this year.

While Uber has clarified that it is not in competition with taxis, some 102 taxi drivers will be suing the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) over Uber, Grabcar and Blacklane. An ad hoc committee has been formed to sue the commission for alleged negligence in banning the three operators. The taxi drivers claim that their livelihoods had been affected due to said services.

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Klang Valley Taxi Driver Action Committee member, Kamarudin Mohd Husain stated that more legal action will follow. “We will file five or six more in stages,” he said, noting that it would not just be over the ride-sharing apps, but about various other issues in the taxi industry.

Should Uber and Grabcar be made legal, the committee was looking into a strike, or even going to the extent of blocking off the streets of Kuala Lumpur again. Kamarudin said that the government had given SPAD a mandate to improve the taxi industry, however, the committee felt that it was not doing a satisfactory job.

Earlier, SPAD said that it was being made the scapegoat over issues relating to ride-sharing services, said chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar. “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.”