New e-hailing rules unfair to us, say disabled drivers

Disabled activists, including Anthony Thanasayan (right), at a recent meeting with Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.

PETALING JAYA: Members of the disabled community who drive for e-hailing services say they have been dealt a blow with the government decision requiring all e-hailing drivers to obtain a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence.

Harvinder Kaur, a disabled person who had signed up as an e-hailing driver, said the PSV requirement is an obstacle to those like her who want to earn an income.

“When they announced that disabled individuals could apply to join e-hailing services, it was the best news for us. It meant there was another avenue to earn an income as it is difficult to secure a job in the corporate world.

“But this PSV licence regulation is a deterrent for us to continue driving,” the former activist told FMT.

On June 14, Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook announced that e-hailing operators had agreed to waive the RM320 PSV licence fee for disabled drivers as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes.

Disabled drivers were told to start applying on June 27 to ensure that they could complete their six-hour online driving training before June 30, enabling them to take the PSV test today.

Harvinder, a former polio patient and ex-secretary of the Malaysian Confederation of the Disabled, said the requirement was unfair as others were given until July 12 to take the PSV test.

“We don’t understand why we have to sit for the test earlier. As it is, from what I heard, the PSV test is very difficult. I think we should be given more time to study before we take the test,” she said.

She also said disabled drivers should not be required to undergo a medical check-up.

“We each carry an OKU (orang kurang upaya) card after we have been certified by government medical specialists. Only after the specialists verify the kind of disability you have will the welfare department issue you the card,” she said.

Wheelchair-bound disabled activist Anthony Thanasayan has also urged the transport minister to review the decision on medical check-ups for disabled drivers.

“Why make them go through this again when they have already been certified? Do you know what kind of hassle they have to go through to get to the hospital?” he said.

He said many disabled drivers might not be ready to take the PSV test today.

It was reported that a group of disabled drivers had submitted a memorandum to the ministry seeking reconsideration of some of the requirements for e-hailing services.