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According to a report by The Malay Mail, ride-sharing services like Uber and Grab will soon have to abide by new terms if they wish to continue operating in the country. Deputy transport minister, Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi has reiterated that these terms will include the need to purchase commercial insurances, just as regular taxi drivers do.

“When the government regulates it, definitely we will need to install certain elements of the current taxi system into theirs,” he said. Taxi operators have since been made to purchase commercial insurances. It offers a degree of protection to their customers in the event of an accident.

Operating as private vehicle owners that offer rides for a fee, Uber and Grab are not bound to offering such insurance, incurring fewer operational costs. “We have discussed it with SPAD and they’ve done their lab (tests) and what I was briefed on is that they’ll try to regulate these apps,” said Kaprawi. “There is some suggestion to create a new approach like setting up taxi network operators,” he added.

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The government is also said to be looking at different ways to relieve some of the financial burden faced by taxi drivers. Kaprawi suggested that one way would be to reduce the frequency of the RM50 Puspakom inspections that taxi drivers are faced with. From having to undergo the inspections twice every year, this may be reduced to just once a year.

In January this year, the deputy transport minister further elaborated why ride-sharing services needed further regulation. “We want to regulate the industry so that these vehicles are safe for people to ride in. We also want to legalise the industry as the number of phone apps will continue to grow. Malaysians find these apps very convenient in terms of securing public transport,” he said.

As reported then, it seems that the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is still gathering feedback on these ride-sharing services. It still hasn’t come to a conclusion on how to regulate these services as they continue to operate. Yesterday, the government confirmed that Uber will not be banned, but will be regulated accordingly. Today, outraged taxi drivers have blocked Jalan Bukit Bintang to protest against these ride-sharing services.