The Malaysia E-Hailing Drivers Association (Mehda) has released a statement, voicing the group’s discontent in being left out of the Malaysian government’s 2020 Economic Stimulus Package where selected groups reliant on tourism are to receive a one-off financial aid sum of RM600 for being negatively affected by reduced tourist arrivals due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

E-hailing drivers should be classified under the group of affected individuals who are eligible for the financial aid as this group is also in service of tourists in addition to local passengers across the country, just like taxi drivers who are eligible for the one-off financial aid, Mehda chairman Daryl Chong said in a statement, adding that e-hailing drivers are similarly affected by passengers’ reduced travel due to the outbreak.

The statement also adds that if e-hailing drivers are subject to the same rules and regulations as taxi drivers such as being required to have a PSV license and undergo Puspakom inspections in order to operate, this group should also be afforded the same financial aid that is being offered to taxi drivers.

At latest count, approximately 100,000 e-hailing drivers nationwide have acquired their PSV licenses, the association said, and Mehda wishes for e-hailing drivers to be considered as equals to registered taxi drivers, tour bus drivers and trishaw operators who are collectively affected by the downturn in travel demand due to the Covid-19 outbreak and urges the government to reconsider and include e-hailing drivers in its stimulus package, Mehda said.

Last year, e-hailing drivers were given a deadline on July 12 to apply for the mandatory Public Service Vehicle (PSV) license in order to continue ride-hailing operations as part of the government’s effort towards regulating the e-hailing industry and to create a level playing field with taxi drivers, who have long complained about how easy it has been for one to be an e-hailing driver, without being subject to the same regulations as taxi drivers.

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