At a gathering at the MAEPS in Serdang on Friday, 13 April, Datuk Seri Najib Razak presented the 1Malaysia Taxi Aid Card worth RM800 to be awarded to a total of 67,000 taxi drivers nationwide
The assistance card comes with a preloaded value of RM800 which can be used to purchase petrol or natural gas for vehicles at Petronas stations nationwide.
According to the caretaker prime minister, the assistance card is part of the BN Government's "efforts to boost the competitiveness level of the taxi group."
The taxi drivers will also get other facilities under the Mesra Petronas loyalty programme including personal accident insurance protection up to RM50,000.
The aid, that would be disbursed via the SPAD and Finance Ministry, is being distributed in stages starting from Friday, the day of the announcement.
The card involves funding of RM53.6 million
"I would like to announce that the government will be handing out the 1Malaysia Taxi Assistance Card to roughly 67,000 taxi drivers nationwide worth RM800.
"The government has allocated RM53.6 million for this assistance and with this card, taxi drivers can fill their tanks with petrol or NGV at Petronas stations," Najib told a crowd of roughly 10,000 taxi drivers, who cheered and gave him a standing ovation at the end of his speech, according to The Malay Mail Online.
"I believe with this card, it will reduce the cost of daily operations and raise income. The government will never forget taxi drivers who have always been close to the heart of the government," the caretaker prime minister told the crowd of 10,000 taxi drivers who had gathered at the Malaysia Agriculture Exposition Park from throughout the country.
The Borneo Post Online, meanwhile, reported Najib saying that the RM800 stored value would be reviewed from time to time depending on the government's affordability.
Reaction to the RM800 fuel card has been mixed.
While taxi drivers interviewed by The Star Online said they were thrilled, many of them were laughing when Najib told them "If all of you help me, I will definitely help you", according to Malaysiakini.
"I am happy about this and I support the Government's efforts," said a 58-year-old taxi driver, adding that the card would help reduce his daily operational cost.
"The RM800 is a great help as our income has been on the decline," a 50-year-old Jamaluddin Ahmad from Senawang told The Star Online, adding that he was "grateful."
On the other hand, according to Malaysiakini, the fuel aid handout has failed to douse taxi drivers' frustration at the ruling coalition of Barisan Nasional (BN).
"I will say it as it is – this is dedak that they give out when it is election time. Do you know how long we have been fighting (against e-hailing services)?
"This (fuel aid card) only helps a little bit, it will be gone in two or three months.
"They can't give money so they give us a card. This is dedak, it's like they are feeding animals," a taxi driver, Abdul Aziz Yusof, told Malaysiakini.
Meanwhile, some 30 taxi drivers were injured while queueing up to receive the cards, with one of them had to be taken to the hospital
"This unfortunate incident occurred when a handful of attendees did not follow the systematic crowd control measures upon entering the hall to collect the card," SPAD said in a statement while confirming the incident that took place at Hall C of the building at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS).
Prior to this, the Crown Prince of Johor spent over RM1 million while surprising shoppers by paying RM3,000 each for their groceries:
On the other hand, caretaker Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said that if the Malaysians working in Singapore don't get leave on 9 May, then they need not return to vote in GE14:
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