In 2018, a mother-daughter duo from Bangi, Selangor saw the need for a woman-only ride-sharing platform in the country.
And so, they began MakCik Travels.
Dr Sazlina Kamaralzaman and her daughter, Siti Sarah Anuar, found that crime and sexual harassment occurred too often when women travelled alone.
To overcome the issue, they came up with MakCik Travels, a companionship service for women, so that they could hail a ride with a sense of security.
Not too soon, they extended the service to chaperone women who felt unsafe when travelling alone at night or to run errands at shopping malls or hospitals.
The platform was made to also cater to other vulnerable groups such as children, senior citizens, and people with disabilities, so that they, too, can travel safely.
MakCik Travels initially started out with only two drivers offering transportation services to women near where they lived
"But soon enough, we kept getting more demands to go outside of Bangi and kept getting calls even at 3am," Siti Sarah told SAYS in an interview.
She said that was when her mother decided to start a company to meet these larger demands and to provide women with a safer option when travelling.
As a lecturer from a public university with over 10 years of experience in teaching, community work, and helping children with disabilities and special needs, Dr Sazlina saw the opportunity to help those in need while starting their business.
"Soon, our clients also asked us if we can accompany their children or parents to certain places. So, we started the chaperone service," explained Siti Sarah, who graduated from Kajang Vocational School with a Diploma in Accountancy.
Since then, the service has expanded to beyond the Klang Valley, having over 100 drivers in five other states including Perak, Johor, Melaka, Penang, and Kedah.
Siti Sarah said they receive all kinds of requests now and a significant amount of from working women who need help picking their children up from school or accompanying their elderly parents to attend hospital appointments and even go to dialysis centres.
So now, the platform offers two types of services: MakCik Drives and MakCik Chaperone
As their names suggest, the former ride-hailing service is available 24 hours, seven days a week, while the latter companion service is only available for booking from 8am to 5pm daily.
In order to book drivers or chaperones, a customer can contact their agents through WhatsApp at +6010-2284020 or their website.
Siti Sarah told SAYS that they are in the midst of setting up an app to ease the request process. However, she has realised that the elderly still prefer using WhatsApp or directly calling them for bookings as they are less technology savvy.
All the same, she recommends that customers book a day in advance so that they can schedule a driver or chaperone to meet all of their individualised needs.
She also said their fees for their e-hailing services are competitive, but trips at night will cost double. Meanwhile, for their chaperones, their rates start from RM60 for the first two hours and RM15 for each subsequent hour.
As a 'for women by women' platform, Siti Sarah assured that majority of these profits go to their drivers and chaperones
"Business is one thing, but most importantly we want to help women generate income," her mother previously told New Straits Times.
The all-woman company only takes a 5% commission from all bookings, while 95% of the charges goes to their administrative agents, drivers, and companions.
Therefore, they encourage more women to join their team, be they housewives, single mothers, students, or even working mothers as the work allows them to be flexible.
Candidates will have to fulfil minimum requirements, pass an interview, and go through a training programme to become a driver or chaperone.
In addition, Siti Sarah said they have many more exciting plans for the future such as MakCik Explorer, a companionship service for Malaysian women travelling abroad, but their small company is still limited by human resources.
"We hope to have more agents and chaperones in every state so that our current chaperone service can access all public and private hospitals, domestic homes, and any caregiving institution for now," she said.