The government’s idea of encouraging aspiring ride-sharing drivers with a RM4,000 rebate to purchase a Proton Iriz is being questioned by a taxi firm, the Malay Mail Online reports. According to Big Blue Taxi Services’ owner Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail, the Proton hatchback is unsuitable to serve passengers given its size.
“The Iriz is not designed to be a taxi. It’s too small. How are they supposed to fit people in?” he said, adding that the decision to go with the defined vehicle looked to be one meant to aid the ailing national carmaker. He also questioned how the government will ensure that the car will end up being used for ride-hailing services when Uber and Grab car drivers aren’t registered with the government. “It’s not a viable policy,” he stated.
In the Malaysian Budget 2017 announcement last Friday, prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had announced that the government is encouraging the B40 group, especially BR1M recipients, to increase their income by joining ride-sharing app companies such as Uber and Grab.
In his speech, the PM said that the B40 group (bottom 40% earners in Malaysia) could earn up to an additional RM1,500 a month for part-time drivers working between 10 to 40 hours per week, and RM4,300 for those working more than 40 hours per week.
Alongside the direct endorsement of the ride-sharing service was the announcement that BR1M recipients without a car can now purchase a Proton Iriz more easily, with the the downpayment made using BR1M and an additional rebate of RM4,000 to be provided.
Shamsubahrin said that the announcement was a clear indicator of the government’s intention to wipe out the taxi industry in favour of ride-sharing companies. “You said you want to transform the taxi industry, but we saw nothing from the budget that was helpful to the taxi industry. Instead you promoted the people to drive Uber,” he said.
The government also stated it will be handing out 12,000 individual permits to qualified taxi drivers – as well as a RM5,000 grant to help them buy a new car – to free them from the “pajak” system, where drivers have to pay an operator rent for the use of a taxi. Shamsubahrin said that the initiative was laudable, but wondered what would happen to the remaining taxi drivers.
He said the policies appeared to be half-baked. “There is nothing concrete. If they want to really help and allow us to compete at a level playing field they should regulate Uber’s fares as well,” he said.
Resources : http://paultan.org/2016/10/24/proton-iriz-not-suitable-for-uber-duty-says-taxi-firm/