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Ride-hailing services Uber and Grab are set to get the green light once the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) gets the go-ahead from the Government to regulate them, according to a report by TheSun. This comes right after a taxi firm stated that Grab and Uber drivers will continue to receive abuse from conventional taxi drivers until SPAD regulates the industry with clear guidelines, following a case of mistaken identity.

The decision was reached after a presentation by SPAD CEO Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah to the Cabinet yesterday concerning the revamping of the conventional taxi industry and the expansion of transport services with the legalisation of Uber and Grab.

Among the 11 initiatives presented were the proposal to improve the Teksi 1Malaysia (TEKS1M) model, to streamline the fleet of budget taxis and the setting up of a special fund for the commissioning of new taxis. Additionally, SPAD will move towards issuing individual taxi permits to conventional taxi drivers with good track records, in parallel with a new mechanism for cab companies to strive for improvement.

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Currently, there are an estimated 77,000 registered taxi drivers nationwide. With the legalisation of ride-hailing services, around 150,000 new individual permit holders – comprising Uber, Grab and conventional taxi drivers – are expected to co-exist in the next three years.

The report adds that as a matter of formality, the final hurdle to legalise Uber and Grab will be amendments to laws involving the relevant government agencies, and these will be made at the Parliament sitting in November. However, it is unclear if public service vehicle licence issuance and training will still remain with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) or a shared responsibility with SPAD.

A SPAD spokesman said all details agreed to by the Cabinet today would be revealed to the public early next week, when contacted by TheSun. “The commission will brief the stakeholders first, and we will be making a formal announcement soon after receiving the minutes of meeting from the Cabinet,” he said.