uber cash payment

The cabinet’s unanimous approval of the proposal to legalise “e-hailing” services like Uber and Grab was apparently done in the interest of the Malaysian public, according to The Sun.

Explaining the government’s stance behind endorsing and approving these ride-sharing app services, tourism and culture minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said that the decision was mostly influenced by the needs of the people. “We have no problem to regulate Uber and Grab because that’s what people want,” he told the English-language daily. “We are being objective and we are guided by the interest of the public.”

Nazri was adamant that “there’s no way Uber will be banned [in Malaysia],” adding that “Grab and Uber are actually national organisations.” The Padang Rengas MP was referring to the country’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional’s indirect investment in Uber, as well as Grab’s Malaysian roots.

“As a Minister of Tourism, I certainly support this tech initiative for efficient public transport services,” he said. “They [Uber and Grab] are very competitive and sometimes they can provide cheaper fares than conventional taxis which is good for public and tourist.”

GrabCar JB April 7-01

Nazri said that taxi drivers should view the cabinet’s decision as a wake-up call, and that they should get their act together and improve. “We are not forgetting them. There are several incentives that we have already approved this week which is outlined in the Taxi Industry Transformation Programme to be carried out soon by SPAD [Land Public Transport Commission],” he said.

Transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that SPAD is currently looking into the details of the creation of an equal platform for all forms of public transport to operate competitively. He added that the misunderstanding and problems surrounding ride-sharing services and taxis were mostly caused by the different sets of regulations governing the two services.

“One of the ways would be to de-regularise [sic] the taxi industry where there will be less restricted regulations to govern the taxi drivers like sending their vehicles for Puspakom inspection twice a year and more regulation to regulate both Uber and Grab,” Liow said.

Grab country head Jaygan Fu said that the decision highlights the government’s commitment in supporting “innovative solutions” intended to resolve transportation issues in Malaysia, adding that the company was looking forward to working with SPAD and other authorities to understand the proposed amendments to current legislation.