The transport ministry says that there will be no change in the policies regarding ride-hailing services, and those in the industry must abide by the rules and regulations that have been set for it. This includes ride-hailing drivers having a compulsory public service vehicle (PSV) licence by the July 12 deadline, which is when the new rules meant to regulate the ride-hailing industry comes into effect.

The response from the ministry comes following complaints from various ride-hailing drivers’ associations, which claimed that the short timeframe from April 1 (when the PSV licence course began) and difficulties in the licencing process would see around 50% of drivers leaving the industry when the deadline came.

According to transport minister Anthony Loke, the government did not introduce the new procedures to make life difficult for ride-hailing drivers, The Star reports. “People must understand, laws exist for a reason. The government made a decision, which is to allow e-hailing services to operate within a legal framework,” he said.

“We are legalising the e-hailing industry. If there are some drivers who are not willing to follow the procedures, what can I do? If people say they do not want to be e-hailing drivers because of the regulations, then the government cannot force them. It is their choice,” he stated. Loke had said last December that the road transport department (JPJ) would enforce the new rules, and those providing ride-hailing services without a PSV would be hauled up.

He revealed that some 62% out of 16,338 drivers who took the PSV ride-hailing theory licensing test between April 1 and June 30 passed. “From the total, 10,151 drivers passed and qualified for a PSV licence,” he said, adding that the ministry is expecting the numbers to increase by July 12, in line with the introduction of e-courses at selected approved training centres.

In response to claims that the fees for the test were expensive, Loke noted that a ride hailing driver would have to fork out around RM800 for the whole process, which includes RM200 for the six-hour licencing course and RM20 for the licence renewal fee, but said the cost of the PSV test would be free if e-hailing drivers choose to take it online.