On Wednesday, 21 August, the Cabinet agreed to allow Indonesian motorcyle e-hailing service Gojek to operate in Malaysia
Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, who was present at the Cabinet meeting, said that specific legislation regarding the matter had yet to be discussed or finalised.
"In principle, the Cabinet today has given Gojek the green light to operate here," he said, as reported by New Straits Times.
"The Youth and Sports Ministry and the Transport Ministry have been tasked to discuss in detail on developing Gojek's services in the country in terms of rules and laws and where it should be allowed to operate."
The idea of bringing Gojek to Malaysia was first put forth by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman on Monday, 19 August
In a one-minute video posted to his Twitter account, the Muar MP explained that he managed to bring Gojek founder Nadiem Makarim to meet with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Transport Minister Anthony Loke that day.
"In our efforts to help the 'mat motor' (motorcyclists) group, it is not enough to have one-off programmes or build racing tracks. They want to be defended, they wants jobs. Those are the more important issues, not just one-off programmes," he said.
"By the grace of God, we want to create hundreds of thousands of jobs for the 'mat motor' group by helping the uncles and aunties who run small kiosks and businesses."
However, the Cabinet's approval of Gojek operations has drawn criticism from various parties.
Big Blue Taxi Services founder Shamsubahrin Ismail warned of protests arising from the "backwards" proposal.
"Syed Saddiq is an educated minister but while other ministers are talking about flying cars and third national cars, he is asking young people to become dispatchers," he said, as reported by Free Malaysia Today.
"Gojek as a career will not ensure a promising future, our youths deserve better than that."
Shamsubahrin also called on the government to focus on solving problems regarding e-hailing and taxi drivers first, rather going "a step backwards" with this proposal.
He also raised concerns about women hugging Gojek motorcyclists while taking a ride.
Meanwhile, a traffic engineering specialist and public transport advocate brought up concerns about stiff competition and the effect on public transport usage
"We have so many problems between taxi operators and e-hailing companies. Adding another player will lead to more issues," Dr Law Teik Hua told New Straits Times.
Dr Law added that it was counterproductive to add another e-hailing option while public transportation infrastructure is under contruction.
"We've invested so much taxpayers’ money in public transport. Recently, we decided to proceed with the Light Rapid Transit 3 project. So what message are we sending to the public? That they don’t need to use these facilities?"
Former independent Port Dickson by-elections candidate Stevie Chan questioned why a Cabinet minister was lobbying for a private, foreign business
"My problem is this: why is a cabinet minister lobbying for a private business, a foreign one at that? It's not your job. In fact, in some democracies, that is considered a corrupt act," Chan said in a tweet.
However, for many netizens, the main concern is that Gojek riders will make Malaysian roads more dangerous
BFM 89.9 executive producer Jeff Sandhu appealed with Syed Saddiq to "just take [a] drive around KL (not being chauffeured around) during peak hours and see how motorcyclists behave (read: thugs)".
"Adding motorcycles on the road is kinda the opposite of trying to be a developed nation," he added.
One netizen brought up the fact that Malaysia ranked fifth in the world for highest percentage of motorycle accident fatalities, citing a 2015 study by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS).
"Traffic in Malaysia is ranked one of the most dangerous in the world. Third in road deaths globally," another netizen said, in their resistance towards Gojek Malaysia.
"Our roads are built for speed, to reach further quicker, instead of smaller, more compact cities."
Meanwhile, Twitter user @mszikr called on the government to emulate countries such as Tokyo, Dubai, London, and Seoul by having more trains and efficient public transport.