Cabinet backpedalling in getting youths to earn more, says ex-deputy minister

The Cabinet has given the green light for the introduction of the motorcycle e-hailing service. (Bloomberg pic)

PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya is backpedalling in its efforts to help youths earn more, said former deputy transport minister Aziz Kaprawi after the Cabinet approved Indonesian motorcycle e-hailing service Gojek to operate in Malaysia.

He said it will also cause more fatalities as motorcyclists make up 65% of all road fatalities.

This will result in the government spending more money on medical bills and families losing their loved ones, he added.

“Official data from the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) state the risk of riding a motorcycle is 16 times more than driving a car,” he told FMT.

“Why is the government bent on risking people’s lives by encouraging more people to ride bikes?”

Miros had been advising the government to look for alternatives to motorcycles and a way to reduce fatalities, he said.

Barisan Nasional had hoped to bring down the current 7,000 fatalities to 2,000 a year, to be on a par with developed countries.

“That is also why we did not allow tuk tuk (three-wheeled auto-rickshaws) to operate in the cities,” he said.

Aziz said other than prioritising safety issues, BN wanted Malaysian cities to be as developed as London and New York, where people use rail services.

Due to that, he said the previous administration had spent billions of ringgit to build the LRT and MRT.

What about high-income jobs for youths?

Aziz Kaprawi.

Aziz further argued that Gojek will not solve employment issues as youths will be stuck in the lowest “segment of their profession” and it may also be dominated by foreign workers.

“We should not aim for our future generation to be on motorbikes. They should be indulging in hi-tech agriculture and online entrepreneurship and earning a lot more.”

He said the country’s food security is a concern as Malaysia’s dependency on importing food to feed Malaysians is increasing.

“This does not augur well for us. It is unfortunate if the government goes ahead with Gojek.”

Aziz urged Putrajaya to think of ways to help Malaysian youths with better skill sets that will help them earn more.

He further advised Putrajaya to provide grants to youths keen to open up hi-tech farming and dairy farming.

“Allowing motorcycle taxis is definitely not the way. It will do more harm than good,” he added.

Based on a labour report by the Statistics Department, unemployment stood at 3.3% while unemployment among youths stood at 10.9% in 2018.