Malaysia-Taxi-02

The Chief Minister getting arrested wasn’t the only commotion to happen in Georgetown yesterday. Some 200 taxi drivers gathered at Penang’s Esplanade for a four-hour strike and protest against the legalising of Uber and Grab, The Star reports. They then convoyed to Komtar, the airport, Eastin Hotel and the Sungai Nibong bus terminal.

Penang Taxi Associate Association secretary Mohamad Shahimi Hadzri appealed to the Prime Minister to do something to prevent the taxi industry from collapsing.

“We ask that the government take our plight into consideration. Our income has gone down 70% since Uber and GrabCar started operating in Penang. The government needs to remember that we are also voters here in Penang. Taxi drivers used to earn over RM200 a day but now, we barely earn RM50 a day. How can we survive like this?” he said, adding that if Sabah could ban the app-based ride hailing services, Penang should follow suit.

Taxi Drivers Protest Against GrabCar 2

“We will also be filing a police report similar to the one filed by the Kuala Lumpur Taxi Association against Uber and GrabCar as well as another police report against former minister Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar for his stint as an Uber driver,” he added, referring to the former minister in the PM’s department, who ferried people to “try to feel the pulse of the public”.

Cabbies like P. Gunasegaran, 40, who has been a taxi driver for 14 years, are struggling. “Before both these services came along, I used to earn RM250 a day and now, there are days when we don’t even earn anything. Some taxi drivers have to pay rental for their vehicles on top of fuel. On average, car rental and fuel will cost up to RM110 a day,” he explained.

S. Valayutham, 42, who owns a radio call taxi company, said that the rise of Uber would create social problems. He said that Uber drivers with their big expensive cars were not doing it for the money, but only to meet women.