Shamsubahrin Ismail says this will ensure Uber and Grab are held accountable for any mishaps to passengers.
KUALA LUMPUR: Big Blue Taxi adviser Shamsubahrin Ismail says the government should speed up the legalisation of e-hailing services to ensure safety of passengers.
“The longer we prolong the legalisation of this bill, the higher the risk of passengers getting harmed,” he said at a press conference here today.
He was referring to the Land Public Transport Act 2010 amendment to regulate services using e-hailing applications. It was tabled in Parliament in April and is expected to be tabled for a second reading in July.
Under amendments to the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987, the government is also seeking to introduce an intermediation business licence to regulate e-hailing services as public vehicles.
Shamsubahrin said with proper regulation of e-hailing services, companies such as Uber and Grab could be held accountable for any mishaps to passengers during their ride.
He pointed to a recent case in which two Uber passengers were robbed in Cheras after exiting the vehicle.
According to reports, the two students had booked a ride to Cheras Perdana early on Sunday morning. However, after they entered the vehicle, the driver allegedly grabbed one of their mobile phones and changed the destination to Taman Murni Batu 9.
The students said they were then dumped by the roadside.
Shamsubahrin said this was the modus operandi of irresponsible Uber drivers who would drop their passengers at a different location where robbers would be waiting.
He called on the government and authorities such as the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to take legal action against the Uber driver involved in the Cheras case.
“If the government does not take stern action against the Uber driver involved in the robbery, the safety of any Uber passengers in the future will remain at risk.”
He said Malaysians should also be responsible for their own safety by avoiding rides that are illegal, adding that for now, Uber and Grab are included in that category.
The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) previously said it would not hesitate to impose punitive measures on e-hailing service operators or their drivers. The vehicles may be seized if they violate the law.
SPAD was also reported as recommending that Uber urgently review the screening of its drivers.
This came after another case involving a Uber driver and an accomplice who allegedly robbed a pregnant female passenger in Puchong in May.
Wong Mei Yan reportedly lost valuables worth over RM16,000, including two handphones, a Pandora bracelet and a diamond ring.
She also suffered a miscarriage a few days later, which she attributed to the stress and anxiety she had suffered after being robbed.