SPAD told: Clean up industry before legalising Uber, Grab


KUALA LUMPUR: The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) was told Friday to improve its enforcement and clean up illegal activities in the taxi industry.

Big Blue Taxi Services founder Shamsubahrin Ismail added that taxi drivers were not opposed to the legalisation of both Uber and GrabCar, but they wanted it done after SPAD cleaned up the industry.

He said the problems faced by the industry, including a public trust deficit, were due to illegal taxi services and drivers who failed to comply with laws and regulations.

So, instead of taking measures that could cost the country more money, or reduce the income of law-abiding taxi drivers, SPAD should look towards apprehending those who had given the industry a bad name, he said.

“I was expecting that when SPAD proposed plans to the Cabinet, it would ask for more money to improve and upgrade its enforcement mechanisms, not to ask more money to buy new taxis.

“The problem lies with the illegal activities carried out by some taxi drivers. So SPAD should clean up and tighten its enforcement first,” said Shamsubahrin at a press conference here.

He claimed there were 18,000 “errant” taxi drivers operating nationwide.

His statement follows the Cabinet’s decision to give SPAD the go-ahead to regulate Uber and GrabCar. This would pave the way for the legalisation of the two ride-sharing services by year-end.

Shamsubahrin said the outrage expressed by Malaysian taxi drivers was not because they opposed the legalisation of both Uber and GrabCar, but over its timing.

This, he said, was especially so as the move, if implemented before the taxi industry was properly “cleaned up”, would not level the playing field.

“We never said Uber cannot come. In fact, we welcome it. I’m just saying wait, clean up the industry first. The truth is, SPAD has failed to transform the industry.

“If they had been smart, they would have allocated more money for enforcement. Like the JPJ (Road Transport Department), focus more on catching the offenders (who have tainted the industry’s image),” he said.