Ride-sharing service providers will need to provide an SOS button in their mobile applications to allow passengers to immediately notify the authorities if they feel they are in danger, The Sun reports.

The feature is part of the improved safety measures that the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is proposing for ride-sharing services in a bid to ensure public safety. The commission held a meeting with Uber Malaysia in the wake of recent incidents involving Uber drivers.

“This is something we would like to see all new and existing e-hailing providers do as soon as possible even before the law which allows us to regulate them comes into place,” SPAD CEO Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah said.

He added that SPAD has proposed more stringent checks being conducted on drivers. “Some of these potential checks include psychometric testing or behavioural checks on the drivers. Another thing that we would require these e-hailing providers to do is for them to share all their drivers’ details with the commission so that we can conduct another round of checking with the relevant authorities,” he said.

Azharuddin said that the implementation of these proactive measures are necessary to ensure full compliance. He explained that when the law comes into place, these ride-sharing providers will have the responsibilities of public transport operators, which will thus require all necessary checks such as background, medical and criminal checks on the drivers to be conducted.

“Hence, if at anytime after the law comes into place and there are any e-hailing operators who flout the law, we will not hesitate to take stern action against them, including financial penalty or suspension,” he stated.

He said the commission will work closely with all ride-sharing operators to ensure they follow the measures listed closely, and assured the public that their safety is SPAD’s top priority while making sure the operators play their part. The commission will be meeting Grab today over the same topic.