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Despite Uber’s plans to commence operations in Kuching, Sarawak tomorrow, the mobile app-based ride-sharing service needs to obtain a state license before it can operate in Sarawak, the government said.

Uber has yet to apply for a permit from the Sarawak Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (LPKP) that allows the company to legally operate in the state, said federal minister Datuk Nancy Shukri. “Uber is still not legal until they register with LPKP Sarawak. We need to record their activities and we have to be responsible for passengers,” she was quoted by The Borneo Post Online.

She cautioned that illegal Uber operators would be picked up by the authority under Section 56 of the Road Transport Act, 1987 for not possessing the specific licence to offer taxi services. Meanwhile in neighbouring Sabah, the state Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) declared the ride-sharing service illegal earlier this year.

“I am not saying we are suggesting Uber should be legalised yet. They need to comply with terms and conditions. It does not matter how they want to label their vehicles but they must register. At the moment, they are still not legal, so we do not recognise them,” the minister added.

While Uber offers a variety of options to the ride-sharing passenger in Peninsular Malaysia, only the basic uberX product will be initially offered in Kuching when it launches tomorrow, and payment can be done via cash or credit card.