Earlier this week, it was reported that the road transport department (JPJ) and the land public transport agency (APAD) had imposed two new requirements that e-hailing drivers would need to comply with in order to ply their trade once the government’s e-hailing regulations come into force on October 12.

On top of the mandatory Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence, it was reported that drivers would now be required to have a printed copy of the eVP (e-hailing vehicle permit) and to convert their vehicle category from an individual private vehicle to an e-hailing private vehicle (AH).

The last has raised concerns among e-hailing drivers, who fear that their cars will be converted into commercial vehicles following the now mandatory switch in categorisation. However, transport minister Anthony Loke says the concerns are unfounded.

He clarified that the AH code given to vehicles used for e-hailing by the JPJ will not appear on vehicle grants but will only be reflected in JPJ’s MySIKAP system, The Star reports.

“The AH code is created only for JPJ administrative purposes and will be reflected in their MySIKAP records to state that the vehicle is used for e-hailing purposes. This code will not appear in their vehicle grant. So when a driver decides to sell off his car, the car is still stated as a personal car,” he explained.

As such, he said there is no need for drivers or car owners to go to JPJ to make any changes, because the e-hailing vehicle permit information stored by APAD will automatically convert the code to AH only in MySIKAP.

Loke also clarified that it will not be compulsory for e-hailing drivers to have a physical copy of the eVP. “Printing it out is only for reference purposes. Their eVP number is already in the MySIKAP system. Drivers need not worry if they do not have the print-outs with them during the enforcement period,” he said.

He admitted that the situation had been confusing for many, and that it had caused arguments to develop at many JPJ offices nationwide. “We are aware of the confusion it has caused, and I would like to apologise to the e-hailing drivers who had troubled themselves to go to JPJ offices, as well as the JPJ officers who were scolded,” he said.

Loke dismissed claims that the government was doing a “U-turn” on the matter, saying there had been no changes in policy. “In May, I announced that e-hailing drivers would not be required to change their car licence into a commercial licence. That remains unchanged. We have also announced that the regulated e-hailing industry will be enforced on Oct 12, that too will proceed as planned,” he stated.

He said that this does not however mean that the JPJ will go after every e-hailing vehicle once the deadline for enforcement begins, explaining that the latter will be done in stages.