PM assures uproar on ride-hailing apps to be settled soon

By THE STAR | 31 March 2016

PETALING JAYA: The Government is looking into solving the problem between taxi drivers and the use of ride-hailing apps, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

On Tuesday, a group of angry and frustrated taxi ­drivers protested in the city over the lack of official action against ride-sharing apps such as Uber and GrabCar.

The Prime Minister said the interests of both users and taxi service providers would be considered when reaching a solution.

According to Najib, the Government is studying the proposals to address the problem, and will announce its solution "in the near future".

"I understand and I am concerned about the problems and grievances faced by cabbies that is caused by the services of Uber and GrabCar drivers in Malaysia which is seen as affecting their income," said Najib in a blog post Thursday.

He said this issue was not exclusive in Malaysia, and that the same problem was being studied in many countries.

"There are various factors that the Government must consider and balance, such as the element of innovation, competition and so on.

"In this era of sophistication and innovation, we have to keep pace with technological developments," he added.

seized Uber cars
SPAD enforcement periodically results in the seizure of private vehicles being used as illegal taxis.

Najib said that competition between taxi drivers and ride-hailing apps must be seen as a stepping stone, instead of a hindrance, so that people could enjoy a better service.

"I hope that no one would follow their emotions and take drastic measures such as starting street protests that will only exacerbate the situation and damage their image.

"And it would not bring any benefit, especially for the users of taxi services," said Najib.

Najib also praised police for acting swiftly and professionally in taking control of the traffic situation and dispersing the taxi drivers during Tuesday's protest along Jalan Bukit Bintang.

It is reported that taxi drivers claimed that Uber and GrabCar were making it more difficult for them to earn a living. The Land Public Transport Com­mission (SPAD) was reportedly seen to be too slow in tackling the industry’s issues.