Only a week after transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that Dego Ride will not be legalised, the government appears to have softened its stance towards the motorcycle taxi operator. Now, minister in the prime minister’s department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri says that there is no decision to ban Dego Ride yet.

“The government does not wish to jump the gun over the ban too fast as it involved lots of people, hence, prior to coming to a finalised decision, a proper study on the demand and market force for the service is needed. This is to ensure the government’s decision would not look like we are trying to contain the B40’s creativity and innovation,” Nancy told reporters after launching the Express Bus Transformation Lab in KL today, reported by The Sun.

She added that if there is a demand for the service to continue, Dego Ride would have to consider how to incorporate its service with the existing laws, following the path of app-based ride hailing companies Uber and Grab. The minister maintained that it is premature for the government to state its stand on the issue.

Last week, Liow cited safety as the reason why Dego Ride should not be allowed to operate. “Even when SPAD tables the amendment, they (Dego Ride) will not be legalised. We are not against Dego Ride, but we are against this mode of transportation, where motorcycles are being used to take passengers. It will create higher risks for road users,” he said, adding that over 60% of road deaths involved motorcycle accidents.

Last month, deputy transport minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi sung the same tune as Liow. “So far, no licences have been issued for motorcycle taxi riders, if they conduct such a business, it is illegal,” he said, adding that riders who provide such services could be charged for misusing their personal motor vehicle licences for commercial purposes.

What are your thoughts on this Bangkok- and Jakarta-style motorcycle taxi service?