With a new government in place, and a Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) established to advice the administration on key issues, several interest groups are taking the opportunity to pitch their cases. A group that has resurfaced recently is the one representing the taxi industry. As expected, the villain is Grab.

Sounding as bold as ever, the Malaysian Taxi, Limousine and Car Rental Operators and Drivers Association urged the new government to “abolish” e-hailing services in Malaysia and focus on improving the taxi industry, Malay Mail reports. Its president, Mohd Shahrir Abdul Aziz, said this was one of the proposals made by the group to the CEP in a meeting today.

“Our source of income has been severely affected since e-hailing services like Grab was introduced. If our quality of service was really horrendous, do something to correct us or help us improve. We exist but still the e-hailing services are given to businesses to handle who eventually monopolise the industry. We call for the abolishment of Grab and to give the e-hailing operations to us,” he said.

Mohd Shahrir said his group also welcomed the disbanding of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), which he claimed had neglected the interest of over 60,000 taxi drivers over the past few years. “All recommendations to improve the situation were completely ignored. We wrote multiple letters to SPAD and even the ministry, but to no avail.

“SPAD was not doing its job in taking care of us (taxi drivers) and the rest of the industry, so in our eyes it does not have any purpose to resume operations,” he said, adding that the CEP merely listened to his suggestions. “They acknowledged it but they didn’t say anything.”

Earlier this week, Big Blue Taxi Services advisor Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail called on the new government to restrict Grab’s operations in the country, claiming that it caused taxi companies and cabbies to lose their source of income.

“Once in the past, taxi drivers fully supported MyTeksi’s efforts but once it reached a high level of success, the company introduced services where vehicles without proper licencing were allowed to ferry passengers.

“The move caused taxi fleet operators and drivers to lose their source of income, not to mention they (e-hailing services) operated without regulation. The taxi industry is keen to modernise and is agreeable to use technology to improve its service but many things must first be revised, including the management of the SPAD,” he said.