Recently, online food delivery company Foodpanda came under strong criticism from Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq, who called out the company for its "arrogance"
The Minister quote-tweeted an article, in which Foodpanda Malaysia's managing director Sayantan Das reportedly claimed that the company is okay with its riders not wanting to work.
In the tweet on Monday, 7 October, Syed Saddiq said consumers have the power to bring down "arrogant" corporations, just like how the rakyat can vote out elected representatives.
"Arrogance is not the solution. Only support a corporation that is fair to workers and consumers," he wrote in the post which was retweeted over 7,400 times.
However, Syed's stance against Foodpanda was dismissed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Tun Dr Mahathir said there was no discussion concerning Foodpanda in the Cabinet, reported The Edge Markets.
"It was Syed Saddiq's personal opinion. He may have had a reason for making the statement," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday, 8 October.
Following Tun Dr Mahathir's remarks, Syed Saddiq took to Twitter to clarify that while a discussion involving Foodpanda did take place in the Cabinet, they did not discuss specifically boycotting the food delivery company.
He urged the media not to slander, giving an example an online news portal has since corrected its headline on the issue.
Netizens started an #UninstallFoodpanda movement following Syed Saddiq's stance against Foodpanda
Many netizens aired their grievances by posting screenshots of them deleting the Foodpanda applications off their phones.
However, some netizens had also criticised Syed Saddiq for meddling in the business world.
"The government cannot interfere in the management of a company. They have their own strategies and are free to decide their business direction," a netizen responded to the Minister's tweet.
"Any coercion against companies will affect the ease of doing business in Malaysia... it is not good for the economy," he added.
Another netizen contended that the predicament faced by the Foodpanda riders right now is due to the weakness of existing laws, which do not safeguard these workers.
"Whatever the operator does is not wrong according to the current laws. We need new laws to protect workers in this new gig economy," he wrote.
Meanwhile, Foodpanda will continue with their new payment scheme, saying that while they welcome the government’s concern, they have to make a decision that is sustainable
Its managing director, Sayantan Das, said the new payment scheme was introduced based on data the company received.
"We welcome the narrative, views, and efforts to understand market demand, but the company has to act without interference from the government," Sayantan was quoted as saying by theSundaily.
According to him, the strike on 30 September accounted for less than 1% of the riders in the fleet, adding that the company is not threatened by the riders' termination.
Foodpanda's new payment scheme is considered controversial as they removed the RM4 hourly rate but increased the payment per order to between RM4.50 and RM7
The previous payment scheme paid RM3 to RM5 per order.
It came into effect on 30 September and it affects 3,900 riders, or 30% out of its total 13,000 riders nationwide.
However, riders based in Kuala Lumpur are still getting paid hourly, on top of RM3 to RM5 payment of each order.
Riders who are against the move said that the new payment scheme have alleged that it cut their earnings by half, reported Malay Mail.
Sayantan defended the move by saying the new payment scheme rewards efficient riders. He said those "those who deliver more, will earn more".
"In a week, if they reach 80 to 119 orders, they will get RM50, 120 to 179 orders (RM80), and 180 orders (RM120)," he said.
He added that riders who work between 11pm and 9am will get an extra RM1 per hour in selected zones and those who work over 60 hours a week will get an extra RM100, reported CNA.