By Liew Chin Tong
The statement by the Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Team that DAP does not want Uber and Grab legalised is a malicious attempt to shift attention from the Uber bribery investigation and away from the real issues faced by both e-hailing and conventional taxi drivers.
Yesterday, I called on Treasury secretary-general Irwan Serigar Abdullah and Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri to come clean on the allegations of bribery and lobbying by Uber in the prompt passing of amendments to the Land Public Transport Act 2010 which legalised e-hailing.
Instead of addressing the real concerns, the Barisan Nasional Strategic Communication Team tried to shift attention by alleging that DAP wants to ban e-hailing and does not want e-hailing to be legalised. There is no need to twist and turn the facts.
What DAP said publicly and during parliamentary debates is all on public record.
The DAP parliamentarians, especially Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming and myself, have been calling for:
A bill of rights for drivers
The amended act only recognises, registers and deals with e-hailing companies without dealing with the drivers. The drivers are supposed to be “self-governed” by giant corporations such as Uber and Grab while many taxi drivers fall prey to cronies who are given taxi permits in block.
A tribunal should be formed within the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to handle the complaints of all taxi and e-hailing drivers. Currently, drivers have no avenue to resolve their disputes with the giant international corporations of Uber and Grab. My colleague Ong Kian Ming prepared a draft amendment bill which was rejected by the government.
A 15% cap on commission
Currently, Uber charges drivers 25% of fares as commission while Grab charges 20%. E-hailing drivers put in their time and personal vehicles and put their lives on the road for meagre incomes while technological providers Uber and Grab, which are international corporations, take huge cuts and repatriate their profits overseas. DAP has repeatedly called for the government to put a 15% cap on commission so that drivers earn slightly more from their hard work. This would also indirectly help the domestic economy.
Individual permits for taxi drivers
One of the major problems faced by taxi drivers is that they don’t get individual permits but have to rent them from cronies who get them in bulk. DAP has called for individual permits to be given in larger numbers, and on SPAD and the government to do more for the taxi sector and not treat it as a sunset industry.
These are among some of the proposals the DAP MPs have made inside and outside of Parliament during the debate on amendments to the Land Public Transport Act 2010.
Liew Chin Tong is Kluang MP and DAP central executive council member.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.