Grab cries foul after drivers fined at airports

GEORGE TOWN: E-hailing giant Grab today questioned the move to stop its drivers from picking up passengers at airports, accusing the authorities of “deliberately” misinterpreting laws.

It said there was no ban on e-hailing drivers, saying their activities were legal pending a one-year grace period to e-hailing companies to register with the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD).

“Hence, to say that e-hailing is ‘illegal’ is a deliberate attempt at misleading the public at large, which essentially also undermines the legislative powers of Parliament,” the company said in a statement.

In July last year, Putrajaya announced that e-hailing services would be subject to the same regulations as taxis, including for licence registration and vehicle inspection.

But Grab said there were “grey areas” concerning enforcement of new e-hailing laws, adding that “certain parties” have been dictating “what they think the law should be”.

“This has not only affected our hardworking drivers who are trying to earn an honest income, but also the millions who move in and out of the airports, including tourists.”

On Jan 1, a Road Transport Department (RTD) officer issued a summons to a Grab driver to appear at the Magistrate’s Court for picking up passengers at the Penang International Airport.

It also questioned a call by a taxi association to ban Grab cars from waiting at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), adding that the airport authorities and the government itself had in 2017 agreed to allow e-hailing drivers to wait at designated spots.

RTD had since clarified that e-hailing drivers can wait at the designated carpark at KLIA, adding that it merely wanted to prevent them from becoming “illegal taxis”.