Grab Malaysia Issues Public Apology Over Alleged Rape Of A Female Passenger
It was about 4am on Sunday, 11 June when a woman who was on her way home from an outing was allegedly raped by a Grab driver
According to media reports, the 29-year-old victim is an online trader and had hired a driver via the ride-hailing service on that fateful day.
The single mother of two children reportedly got into the suspect's car in a state of drunkenness from a karaoke centre in Petaling Jaya to her house in Bandar Putra Permai, Seri Kembangan in Selangor.
During the ride home, the suspect attacked and subsequently raped the victim in his car but she couldn't defend herself because she was too intoxicated to put up a fight.
The incident happened nearby the victim's house and the suspect eventually drove the victim home.
The woman lodged a police report on the incident at about 3pm. The police launched a manhunt and went on to arrest the suspect on the same day.
The 30-year-old suspect was arrested at his house in Sungai Buloh at about 10pm on Sunday.
The police also seized the suspect's Perodua Myvi and the clothing that he was wearing during the alleged crime that he had committed.
It was reported that initial investigations have revealed that the suspect, who has no criminal records, has been working as a GrabCar driver for the last six months and he usually picked up passengers late at night until early morning.
The court has issued a six-day remand order for the suspect yesterday, 12 June. The police said that the case is being investigated under Section 376 of the Penal Code for rape, which prescribes a maximum jail term of 20 years and whipping upon conviction.
Meanwhile, Grab Malaysia has responded to the case by issuing a public apology
Grab Malaysia country head Sean Goh, said in a statement yesterday, 12 June, that the incident was "deeply distressing" and the company is committed to assisting and providing support to the passenger and her family. The firm added that it is giving its full cooperation to the police and relevant authorities.
Goh revealed that the driver involved has been immediately removed from their service pending police investigation and stressed that Grab has a zero tolerance policy for any crime and serious misconduct by drivers.
"The safety of both our passengers and drivers is, and always will be, a priority for Grab. I am truly sorry that we have let down our users and community in this instance, and humbly ask our passengers and drivers to please allow us to keep improving the safety and reliability of our service," read the statement.
Currently, there is a panic button exclusive to drivers but Grab is intensifying efforts to make the button available for passengers as well
At the moment, the Grab mobile application is equipped with a panic button that only Grab drivers can use to immediately contact the police during emergencies.
Grab said that they are "expediting their plans" to extend the feature to passengers as well so that any passenger may immediately notify the authorities if they feel they are in danger by using the in-app panic button.
The company has reiterated that it is committed to continuing its rigorous screening process and criminal background checks on its drivers, and is constantly looking into other measures to increase the safety of both passengers and drivers.
Do you think a 'panic button' feature could help to create a better and safer experience for passengers? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
This incident comes just days after several controversial cases related to ride-hailing services were reported recently: