E-hailing drivers have until this Saturday, October 12, to comply with the ruling of having a mandatory Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence in order to continue operating, but while many drivers have already obtained their PSV, two new requirements that have just been imposed may see a shortage of drivers this weekend.

The two new requirements, which were issued by the road transport department (JPJ) and the land public transport agency (APAD) last Friday, are that drivers are now required to have a printed copy of the EVP (e-hailing vehicle permit) and a conversion of their vehicle category from an individual private vehicle to an e-hailing private vehicle (AH).

The move has caught e-hailing operators by surprise, and some have asked for leeway to be given due to the short notice given, The Star reports. Malaysia E-Hailing Drivers Association president Daryl Chong said that e-hailing drivers who have already obtained their PSV licence should be allowed on the road after this Saturday’s deadline despite them not having met the latest conditions yet.

“We hope the government can give at least one month’s grace period to comply with these new requirements, ” he said, explaining that a majority of e-hailing drivers who have obtained their EVP do not have the hard copy yet. He added that while operators will not have problems printing out the EVP for their drivers, the drivers will have problems picking up the EVP from their respective companies under such short notice.

As for the vehicle category conversion to AH, he said that drivers would have to go through the process of filling up forms and submitting them to JPJ, a time-consuming procedure that is amplified further with the impending deadline.

The report adds that there are about 167,000 e-hailing drivers in Malaysia, and Chong reckoned that 30% of them would quit the industry. Out of the 117,000 drivers who want to continue, he estimated that only 80,000 of them would be PSV and EVP compliant by October 12.

Grab said it was caught by surprise by two new requirements. “We are taken aback by this sudden change, especially when we are only a few days away from the enforcement date. While we negotiate with the relevant authorities, we urge you to do the necessary to meet the full list of requirements by Oct 12,” it said to its drivers in a message posted on its website.

In May, transport minister Anthony Loke had said that e-hailing drivers would have the flexibility of not changing their vehicle category. The deadline for e-hailing drivers to obtain the mandatory PSV licence was July 12, but the government announced a three-month extension so more drivers could fulfil the requirements.