Triggered by the recent case of a 26-year old woman who suffered a miscarriage a week after being robbed at knifepoint by an Uber driver, the authorities are putting more scrutiny on app-based ride hailing operators Uber and Grab. Soon, the vetting of drivers will be done by the authorities, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) said.

Currently, the screening of drivers is done by Uber and Grab themselves, but that task will be handed over to agencies like the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and police, according to SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar in a report by The Star.

“It is of utmost urgency as there have been various incidents and we are getting more and more reports. We are very concerned and want the laws to be passed in Parliament as soon as possible,” he told the daily.

“They told us that they have a good screening system in place with background checks done with the police and JPJ. Obviously, this has not been followed accordingly,” said Syed Hamid, who was “very upset” over the incident.

The SPAD chief said that under the proposed amendments to the Land Transport Act 2010 and the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987, the commission would be able to ask Uber and Grab for their driver database.

“We will then cross-check the drivers’ backgrounds with the police and JPJ before they are given their drivers’ badges. There may be some delay in the process due to bureaucracy, but it must be done to ensure passenger safety,” he said.

The proposed amendments were tabled for first reading in Parliament back in March, and the process will continue in the house’s upcoming July sitting.

Earlier, minister in the prime minister’s department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said that when the ride hailing regulations are passed by Parliament, Uber and Grab will have to be responsible for practising a high level of safety and service standards. “A robbery happened despite the driver having his details recorded, so we want to take into account that when the bill is approved what safety features need to be tightened with the service operator,” she said.