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Earlier in the week, it was reported that the Land Public Transport Commission’s (SPAD) proposal to help transform the taxi service and address the implementation of e-hailing services will be decided by the Cabinet soon. One of the 11 initiatives tabled in the proposal is the revamp of Teksi 1Malaysia (TEKS1M).

Under the new model, drivers will be given an opportunity to own individual taxi permits under a liberalisation initiative 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 said.

The proposed revamp is however not being viewed positively by some parties, The Sun reports. Big Blue Taxi founder and advisor Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail said the revamp benefits transportation network companies such as Uber and Grab instead of fulfilling its intended objectives.

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He said instead of helping the taxi drivers exit the leasing model and move towards entrepreneurship, the proposal will create a bigger opportunity for the TNCs. “The transformation plan is not helping the taxi industry or local taxi drivers, but rather allows these e-hailing apps to further penetrate the market,” he said.

The issuance of individual taxi permits is nothing new, Shamsubahrin explained. He stated that it been done before in 2013, when around 2,000 permits were issued under TEKS1M’s first phase, with a similar view towards entrepeneurship. Not many taxi drivers took up the offer, he said, due to difficulties in obtaining bank loans.

Shamsubahrin, who previously said the proposed revamp of the taxi industry could spell the start of the end for taxi permit holders in the country, urged SPAD to put more focus on enforcement to punish any public transport operators who violated any public transport rules and regulations.