PETALING JAYA: The government’s recent decision to abandon plans for a commission to oversee the gig economy has left workers’ groups disappointed, although employers have welcomed the move.
Grab Drivers Malaysia Association vice-president Azril Ahmat said the commission was needed to better regulate the e-hailing sector.
He also said unhealthy competition had resulted in a decline in prices.
“Yes, it may be okay for those using the services, but not for the drivers because the impact is significant when prices are not regulated well,” he told FMT.
“It will cause a lot of implications, the first being excessively long working hours, damage to vehicles from wear and tear, and physical and mental health issues.”
Azril said the land public transport commission (SPAD) had successfully addressed many of their problems.
“Yet now its powers have been downsized, and some given to a body that oversees something more than just e-hailing. This has left drivers with less oversight and monitoring,” he said.
SPAD was dissolved in 2018 and its assets folded into the land public transport agency under the auspices of the transport ministry.
Last Tuesday, Putrajaya decided against setting up the proposed gig economy commission (Segim), despite assurances by deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi earlier this year.
Human resources minister V Sivakumar said Segim’s powers would have overlapped those already exercised by existing bodies, including the national digital economy council, formed in August.
However, Penghantar president Zulhelmi Mansor criticised the backtrack, predicting continued challenges in the p-hailing industry.
He said p-hailers had long highlighted issues affecting the sector, including wage rates, non-aligned key performance indicators, changing company standard operating procedures, digital discrepancies and unfair ID suspensions.
Zulhelmi said Penghantar would continue advocating for the establishment of Segim.
“Despite concerns about overlapping jurisdictions between different agencies, the agencies mentioned by Sivakumar have so far failed to comprehensively safeguard the welfare of our p-hailing friends,” he said.
MEF backs govt’s decision
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) said it supported the government’s decision to abandon the plans for Segim.
MEF president Syed Hussain Syed Husman said the sharing economy committee, which falls under the jurisdiction of the communications and digital ministry and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, already focuses on safeguarding the interests of gig workers and platform users.
“The affairs of gig workers should be taken care of by the existing government agencies. There is no need to set up Segim, to avoid duplication of functions,” he said.
However, Syed Hussain said gig workers should register with Socso as service providers because they are self-employed and not covered by traditional employer-employee labour laws.