KUALA LUMPUR: Two bills involving public and commercial transport were passed at the Dewan Rakyat today: the Land Public Transport (Amendment) Bill 2017 and the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (Amendment) Bill 2017.
The passing of the Land Public Transport bill will finally give the government the authority to regulate e-hailing companies such as Uber and Grab.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri said e-hailing companies would also have to submit the identification of their drivers to the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to allow criminal checks to be carried out before they are hired.
“The companies will have to give the drivers’ identities to SPAD. Even temporary Uber and Grab partners.
“Potential drivers will be screened for the safety of passengers,” she said during the winding-up debate.
The bill will now go to Dewan Negara for further debate before it is approved by the King.
The passing of the bill will make it compulsory for e-hailing companies to have an intermediation business licence and comply with conditions set by the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board.
These conditions include the type of service provided, measures to ensure the safety and security of passengers, and the standard of performance with which e-hailing companies must comply.
Nancy added that many engagements had been carried out with stakeholders before the bill was drawn.
She said both taxi drivers and e-hailing drivers would have to undergo health and vehicle checks, and carry insurance and commercial driving cards.
“Vehicle checks are needed. This is to make sure the car is safe for drivers and passengers.
“Taxi drivers need to undergo checks once a year instead of the present requirement of twice a year. This will lower taxi drivers’ expenditure.
“The requirement is the same for e-hailing drivers. E-hailing drivers will have to go through criminal checks and Road Transport checks.
“SPAD will also keep their records in a data bank for reference.”
Nancy said the government had not issued any new taxi permits to allow the present taxi drivers to eventually own a taxi permit instead of renting them.
She added that taxi drivers had the advantage as they are allowed both street hailing and e-hailing.
Replying to Liew Chin Tong (DAP-Kluang), who had suggested the establishment of a tribunal to allow taxi drivers to voice grievances with their companies, Nancy said the taxi drivers could refer their problems to SPAD as there were mechanisms in place there to help them.
On questions regarding uncontrolled fares charged by e-hailing companies, she said: “If they hike the prices too high, no customers will go to them.”
She also said e-hailing drivers are only allowed to operate in the country while taxi drivers can take passengers to Singapore and Thailand due to a government-to-government agreement between Malaysia and the two neighbouring countries.