MALAYSIA: E-HAILING, HIRE CAR DRIVERS NOW SUBJECT TO SAME RULES AS TAXI DRIVERS – PM NAJIB

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SERDANG, Malaysia Beginning April 6, all e-hailing and hire car drivers have been required to adhere to the same conditions and regulations as taxi drivers to create fair competition among the services, said Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said the rules included screening pertaining to their background, traffic offences, health, training requirements and periodic vehicle inspections.

I realise that taxi drivers face many obstacles and challenges. I am aware that the income of taxi drivers has been somewhat affected by the existence of e-hailing services in our country.

The e-hailing service has a demand but we have to do something through government intervention to protect the rice bowl of the taxi drivers, he said at the presentation of the 1Malaysia Taxi Assistance Card at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang here today.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri and acting chairman of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) Mohd Isa Abdul Samad were also present at the event which drew over 10,000 taxi drivers from around the country.

Najib said the Cabinet paper on the new rules for the e-hailing service were presented by Nancy and SPAD and approved by the Cabinet on April 6.

"I instructed the enforcement through the gazetting which was done on the same day, he said to the applause of the taxi drivers present.

Taxi drivers approached by Bernama expressed support for the government move to enforce the rules so that the e-hailing service could be regulated like the taxi service.

One of them, Ali Tahar, 58, said taxi drivers in Kuala Lumpur were severely affected by the e-hailing service over the past few years as the e-hailing drivers were not subjected to the strict regulations that they had to adhere to.

"I used to drive the executive (blue) taxi but I was forced to return it because I could not pay up the RM13,000 debt. Now, my wife and I share the task of driving the 1Malaysia Taxi, he said.

Ali's wife, Salwa Samion, 48, said the enforcement of the new rules should be transparent and the e-hailing drivers should be required to carry an identification sticker on their vehicles, just like taxis.

"The Road Transport Department (JPJ) rules regard taxis as commercial vehicles because they carry passengers. However, e-hailing cars are private vehicles and there should be uniformity with the taxis, she said.

Noorhisham Mohamad, 32, said he had to sell one of his two taxis to buy a new car and run a e-hailing service as well over the past eight months because his income was affected by the introduction of the service.

"Right now I take turns to run a taxi and a Uber (e-hailing) service to make up for the loss of income. There is a big difference in the income compared to when I was just driving a taxi, he said.

Although he runs a e-hailing service, Noorhisham said, he supported the introduction of the new rules because the service could be more effectively regulated.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK