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Cabbies take their grouses to Parliament

 | October 29, 2012

Action group submits memorandum and blames government for a system they say does not favour taxi drivers

KUALA LUMPUR: Aggrieved taxi drivers have criticised the government over a system which they say is the worst of its kind in the world.

Metered Taxi Drivers Action Group (BBPTB) chairman Amran Jan said that Malaysia’s convoluted system caused the public to view cabbies in a negative light.

The group had earlier claimed to represent 21 taxi associations, or 2,000 taxi drivers.

Speaking to reporters in Parliament today, Amran, who was accompanied by several of comrades, said: “Taxi drivers are not to blame. It is the failure of the system itself.”

Among the issues raised by Amran included a dispute over the number of taxi permits issued, the taxi coupon system, alleged neglect by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and the Transport Ministry, as well as being taken advantage of by taxi companies.

They addressed these issues in a memorandum, which they handed over to Pakatan Rakyat MPs, including PKR-Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, PAS-Kuala Krai MP Hatta Ramli and PKR-Kuala Langat MP Abdullah Sani.

The cabbies appeared to be frustrated with SPAD, claiming the commission was turning a deaf ear to their concerns.

At the same time, Amran asked why the Transport Ministry had failed to make a statement on local cabbies, criticising Minister Kong Cho Ha over the matter.

‘A lot of baggage’

He also asked why queries over taxi driver issues had been handed over to the Prime Minister’s Department, citing their responses in Parliament.

These factors led him to denounce SPAD, adding that he and other cabbies intended to meet with the Transport Ministry over their grouses in the next three weeks.

Amra’s colleague, S Manugaran, also attacked the local media for not taking their side.

“We have a reputation. My children can’t go to school and say that their father is a taxi driver…don’t destroy our image,” he said.

Pakatan Rakyat MPs who were present also lent their support to these cabbies.

Blaming the government, Abdullah said: “They are not given EPF, Socso…This is a flawed system we cannot accept. The Transport Ministry has to take charge.”

Taxi drivers were recently catapulted into the national spotlight when more than 200 of them demonstrated along Jalan Bukit Bintang over alleged government neglect.

In a response, a SPAD source told FMT that it was trying to fix taxi driver system. He said SPAD had inherited problems that were present before the commission’s formation in 2010.

“When we took over (from the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board), there was need to rationalise the whole thing, relate back to the Public Transport Masterplan and look at it from a holistic point of view,” said the source.

The source admitted that SPAD was saddled with “a lot of baggage”, and that many of the problems were not as straightforward as most people thought.

There are about 37,000 taxis in KL, along with 70,000 across the country, inclusive of limosuine taxis, rental cabs and budget models.


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