E-hailing price bidding system never approved, says Loke

MELAKA: The Transport Ministry (MOT) has never allowed any e-hailing service provider to use the “price bidding system” for passengers, said its minister Anthony Loke.

He said the ministry was not informed about the matter and as a precaution, the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) has been directed to investigate the system currently being used among some e-hailing drivers.

“APAD will look into this, and as far as I know, we haven’t approved any such system,” he told Bernama after the 78th JPJ Day Anniversary Celebration at the Malaysian Road Transport Academy at Ayer Molek here yesterday.

Also present were JPJ director-general Datuk Rospiagos Taha and state JPJ director Muhammad Firdaus Shariff.

He said this when asked to comment on the growing popularity of e-hailing applications that allow a bidding system, whereby e-hailing drivers set their desired prices for a journey before customers begin “bidding” with the “reserve price” as guide.

However, this system has raised concerns among public transport users as it appears to be favouring drivers in a lopsided way.

In another development, Loke said the investigation report by the special team looking into the allegations in the “JPJandora Papers” will be submitted to the ministry’s secretary-general for review and further action.

He said several weaknesses had been identified, especially concerning the registration of classic number plates.

“These classic numbers were previously registered without a transparent and detailed system because in the 1950s and 1960s, registrations were done manually, without the use of a computer system or application like MySikap.

“Sometimes when these numbers were registered, it was assumed that no one owned them. However, later on, the real owner would come forward to reclaim the number, and this raises doubts about (the integrity of) our system.

“To prevent ownership conflicts in the future, we need to tighten and control the registration process,” he added.

Loke announced the establishment of the special task force on Sept 8, 2023 to investigate allegations of possible misconduct at JPJ related to the trading and registration of classic vehicle registration numbers.

This came following the disclosure of such activity by the Telegram app group, Edisi Siasat, which claimed that old registration numbers had been “revived” to be resold, reported Bernama.

A 28-page document, dubbed the JPJandora Papers (after Panama Papers), showed a list of number plates since 2007 that were allegedly re-registered to new owners, with claims that this activity was facilitated by some JPJ officials.

Loke had said the members of this task force consists of members of MOT’s integrity unit, other than full cooperation of JPJ on account of it being the custodian of the vehicle registration process.
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