Big Blue Taxi boss sees red over nod for Uber, Grab

PETALING JAYA: Premium Big Blue Taxi founder Shamsubahrin Ismail has lashed out at the Cabinet and the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) over the legalisation of ride-sharing services, Uber and Grab.

Speaking to FMT, Shamsubahrin said that the Cabinet’s decision to legalise ride-sharing services showed that the Cabinet members had “no brains”.

“The Cabinet should be questioning SPAD on what they have done to clean up the industry,” he said, adding the decision showed SPAD was only looking for the easy way out.

He said the problem with the Malaysian taxi industry was that licensed taxi drivers were not adhering to regulations.

“SPAD has failed to tackle this problem as its enforcement of the law has been weak. Legalising Uber and Grab will not solve the problem. It will still be there.”

Shamsubahrin said what SPAD should have done was weed out errant drivers and clean up the industry of those who did not want to follow the rules and reduce the number of taxi drivers.

He added that once there were fewer taxi drivers and the industry was cleaned up, then the government could introduce Uber and Grab, while ensuring a level playing field.

Shamsubahrin said this had been done in Singapore, where there were conventional taxis and Uber, with Uber being the most expensive service available.

Yesterday, it was reported that the Cabinet had given SPAD the green light to regulate Uber and Grab.

SPAD will now work on the necessary amendments to existing laws and possible enactment of new ones for the relevant government agencies, to allow for the legalisation of Uber and Grab services, at the next Parliament sitting in November.

An estimated 150,000 new individual taxi, Uber and Grab drivers are expected to be providing services to the public over the next three years with the new laws in place.

There are some 77,000 registered taxi drivers nationwide at present.

Last year, a survey conducted by SPAD revealed that some 80 per cent of Malaysians prefer Uber and Grab over taxis.

The emergence of Uber and Grab in recent times has led to discontent among taxi drivers, resulting in protests and even cases of assault against Uber and Grab drivers.

Taxi drivers have long been accused of overcharging customers and refusing to take customers to their destinations, resulting in dissatisfaction which  has  led people to  look for the alternative services now available.