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KL to legalise Uber, Grab by year end

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia has approved plans to legalise Uber and Grab services by year end following a presentation by the nation’s public transport regulator, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to the Cabinet earlier this week.

KL to legalise Uber, Grab by year end

Taxi drivers staging a protest against SPAD and Uber near Pavilion Kuala Lumpur on March 29, 2016. Malay Mail Online file photo

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia has approved plans to legalise Uber and Grab services by year end following a presentation by the nation’s public transport regulator, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to the Cabinet earlier this week.

The commission’s proposal to transform Malaysia’s taxi industry which would include services such as Uber and Grab was accepted by the Cabinet on Wednesday (Aug 10). The proposal also included suggestions to improve the Teksi 1Malaysia (TEKS1M) model, streamlining the budget cabs fleet and a suggestion for a special fund for new taxi vehicles.

The government said the inclusion of Uber and Grab services was essential for the transformation of the taxi industry and for the people. Currently, there are around 77,000 registered taxi drivers in Malaysia while there are no official statistics on the number of Uber and Grab car drivers.

However, for Uber and Grab services to be legalised, amendments to laws involving relevant government agencies would have to be made and it will be done at the Parliament sitting in November.

The TEKS1M scheme is an initiative by SPAD to enhance the services provided by taxis. Vehicles under the scheme would use new standard cars with a standard colour. Existing taxis are expected to migrate into TEKS1M and it is expected to be completed by 2025.

In the next three years, it is estimated around 150,000 new individual permit holders, consisting of Uber, Grab and conventional taxi drivers, would co-exist in the market, The Sun Daily also reported.

“This is the result of long hours of collating, sharing and finalising the best ideas from stakeholders, starting with the taxi lab organised last November,” a SPAD manager was quoted as saying by The Sun Daily.

However, it is still unclear whether the public service vehicle licence issuance and training would still remain under the Road Transport Department (RTD) or a shared responsibility with SPAD.

Another SPAD spokesman also told The Sun Daily all details agreed to by the Cabinet would be revealed to the public early next week.

“The commission would have to brief the stakeholders first before making a formal announcement after receiving the minutes of meeting from the Cabinet”, the spokesman told The Sun Daily.

Malaysian Taxi Owners and Drivers Association secretary Hiew Pow Man told TODAY that its members accepted the decision made by the government even though it meant having more competitors in the industry.

“Some have brought up the issue of having less business but as a taxi driver, this will help to boost our public transport industry as it will give consumers more choices,” he said.

Mr Hiew added it was a fair decision but it would also encourage taxi drivers to improve their services.

Ride-sharing company Grab has welcomed the Cabinet’s approval of the commission’s proposal to regulate its service by end of the year.

Grab Malaysia country head Jaygan Fu said in a statement to The Sun Daily on Thursday, the news highlights the government’s commitment to support “innovative solutions” to resolve transportation issues in the nation.

He said Grab is looking forward to working with SPAD and other authorities to understand the proposed amendments to the current regulations and was appreciative to the relevant parties and stakeholders who worked tireless in achieving this milestone.

Hundreds of taxi drivers had staged a protest last year against Uber and Grab services. They had gathered at Padang Merbok in Kuala Lumpur before walking to the Parliament to handover a memorandum. The ride-sharing services have been in a legal limbo as the drivers and vehicles do not have permits and this has contributed to the tensions and reports of intimidation by taxi drivers. AGENCIES

 

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