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The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is proposing a total of 11 initiatives to help transform the taxi service and address the implementation of e-hailing services. These will be decided by the Cabinet this week, The Sun reports.

Among these is a revamp of Teksi 1Malaysia (TEKS1M), with drivers being given an opportunity to own individual taxi permits under a liberalisation of permits that will come about by year-end. Individual taxi permits will be issued to cabbies with good and clean track records so as to help them exit the pajak (leasing) model and move towards entrepreneurship, SPAD CEO Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah told the publication.

He added that taxi drivers who qualify for individual permits should be given funds to buy new vehicles. The move is being looked as an overhaul plan to solve the long standing issue of the pajak system, which has been plaguing the industry for ages.

The report added that models such as Perodua Myvi, Axia, Bezza and Proton Iriz are to be included under the TEKS1M fleet, though these compact cars will be restricted from transporting passengers to and from airports.

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The last individual permits issuance exercise carried out by SPAD was in 2013, with 2,000 permits being issued under TEKS1M’s first phase, essentially through the replacement of dormant cab permits instead of creating new ones.

Presently, there are around 77,000 taxi drivers nationwide, and of these, around 40% hold individual permits. In the next three years, it is estimated about 150,000 new individual permit holders will co-exist in the market.

An unnamed Transport Ministry official told The Sun that permits will also be opened to individuals registered with app-based transportation network companies such as Uber and Grab. “To be eligible for the individual permits, one must not have outstanding traffic summonses and criminal record,” he said. It remains to be seen whether the insurance industry and financial institutions will agree to allow private cars to be converted to modern taxis.