Not all cabbies are dishonest, says an association for drivers.
PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Taxi Drivers Transformation Association has criticised Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz for a statement that gives the impression that cabbies in Malaysia are typically dishonest.
The association’s deputy chairman, Kamarudin Mohd Husain, told FMT he agreed with Nazri that dishonest taxi drivers gave a bad name to both the taxi and tourism industries, but he rebuked him for failing to emphasise that not all cabbies were guilty.
He said not all cabbies would take illegal shortcuts to make an income and it was unfair to condemn all of them for the actions of a few rogues.
“What about the drivers who have been working hard to make an honest living?” he said.
He claimed that there had not been many reports of cheating by taxi drivers. “From my own observations, only about two or three cases are reported every year,” he said.
On Sunday, Nazri disclosed a “main reason” for the cabinet’s decision to give the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) the go-ahead to regularise the Uber and GrabCar services. He said the cabinet didn’t want taxi drivers to cheat tourists any more.
Kamaruddin questioned the logic behind the statement, saying the ride-sharing services shouldn’t be considered as a form of public transport. He also questioned the cabinet’s sense of fair play, saying it shouldn’t have decided to punish the taxi industry for the actions of a few cabbies.
The founder of Big Blue Taxi Services, Shamsubahrin Ismail, made similar observations when he spoke to FMT.
He said only about 10% of taxi drivers were dishonest. The rest were doing their best to serve their passengers well, he added.
“That is why, even with Uber and GrabCar in the picture, these honest drivers’ income are not affected much,” he said.
“They have regular customers who don’t even mind paying a little more for our good service.
“I have introduced an e-ticketing system to make sure, for the Big Blue taxis at least, no drivers can cheat their customers.”
Shamsubahrin said the real cause of problems was laxity in enforcement of the law.
He said Nazri, instead of passing the buck to taxi companies, should sit down with SPAD and look for a holistic solution.
“This problem has been going on for decades,” he said. “Don’t think legalising Uber and GrabCar is the perfect solution. Most of the taxi drivers who used to cheat customers have now moved to Uber and GrabCar.”