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The government has urged the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to speed up the process of regulating app-based, ride-hailing services. Transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said there was a need to do so, and hoped the commission could speed up the process, The Star reports.

Liow said that Uber drivers will need to get a licence for commercial vehicles, and their cars will have to undergo the mandatory inspection by Puspakom. It was earlier reported that the new terms will also include the need to purchase commercial insurance, just as regular taxi drivers do.

On Monday, authorities announced that they had decided not to ban the likes of Uber and Grab‘s GrabCar, but said these will need to be regulated to ensure they did not hurt the existing taxi industry. Yesterday, the long-standing war escalated when outraged taxi drivers blocked Jalan Bukit Bintang to protest against these ride-sharing services, causing a massive traffic jam.

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The SPAD, meanwhile, said it will work towards legalising these ride-hailing services, but added that the entire process will take time. It said it was also aware of the problems and issues faced by the taxi industry, and that was why it was seeking a solution to improve driver income and welfare.

An unnamed industry expert told The Star that it was vital for drivers using ride-hailing apps to be legalised, and once this was accomplished, it should then be left to market forces to decide which they preferred. He said taxi drivers must realise that they have to improve their services and focus on doing so, instead of organising demonstrations that do not benefit anyone.