All drivers operating under e-hailing platforms like Grab are now legally subjected to the same laws and regulations as taxi drivers, said caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last Friday, 13 April
Najib made the announcement during the 1Malaysia Taxi Assistance Card event at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS), Bernama reported.
"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, as quoted by Bernama.
The move was gazetted on 6 April after a presentation by then minister in Prime Minister's Office Nancy Shukri and the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD)
"I instructed that the rules be gazetted for enforcement the same day," Najib said to the applause of the taxi drivers present.
This means e-hailing drivers are now obligated by law to undergo evaluations involving their background, traffic offences, health, training level, and vehicle roadworthiness.
Previously, e-hailing drivers were not subjected to the strict regulations applied on taxi drivers.
The move has been in the works since last year when lawmakers discussed to amend the Land Public Transport Bill 2017 and the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act Bill 2017
The passing of the amendments gave the government full authority to regulate and monitor e-hailing services, including stricter licensing procedures and an age limit for vehicles.
Najib added that while the government encourages competition, it must be both healthy and fair hence the move to impose the rules on e-hailing drivers.
"Since I took on the country’s leadership, I have witnessed many injustices towards taxi drivers, especially on the capital tax, which is a burden. It was also described as 'modern-day slavery'," New Straits Times (NST) quoted him as saying.
What do you think of the government's decision to impose e-hailing drivers with the same rules and regulations as taxi drivers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
At the same event, Najib announced that 67,000 cabbies nationwide will each be awarded with a special petrol card worth RM800: