Uber in Malaysia was recently put under the spotlight after a group of Malaysian taxi associations demanded action by authorities for affecting their income. Today, The Sun Daily caused a stir by reporting that Uber was declared illegal by SPAD (Land Public Transport Commmission). Obviously the news had gotten several users riled up.
The truth is that SPAD had never imposed a ban or declared that the driver on-demand service as illegal. Such reports are seen to be conflicting with what was mentioned by SPAD’s chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar in response to the Taxi association complaints. Uber can still operate in Malaysia provided that it had the necessary permits to operate within the law.
He was then addressing the Taxi association’s allegation that Uber was operating on private vehicles with drivers that don’t possess Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence. He explained that using private vehicles would deemed illegal akin to “kereta sapu”, and cars registered as Hire & Drive are also not allowed to be used for taxi service. Syed Hamid also added that there are 839 licensed limousines nationwide and these would be allowed for Uber to operate.
A few days back, the SPAD chairman had acknowledged that Uber was getting popular due to its excellent service, therefore they need to study it carefully before taking any action. He added that he knew several people including ministers who have been very satisfied with the service. In fact he even urged the taxi industry to take this opportunity to improve itself in order to gain the confidence of the public.
When Uber was introduced in Malaysia, it had given the local taxis a kick at the rear with its clean and safe rides along with its competitive pricing. What makes it better is its cash-less convenience as you hop onto a car and then hop off without worrying about cash.
Uber isn’t a transportation company and they are basically a platform of offering an on-demand service where in this instance, is to connect a certified driver with a passenger. To call Uber a Taxi service isn’t entirely true, as they don’t pick up passengers from the streets and they don’t accept cash payment from their riders.
Safety and comfort is paramount to Uber, which is the reason why they have partner fleet operators with vehicles covered by commercial liability insurance. As for the drivers, they also undergo stringent checks and they too require a PSV license as required by the law. While taking a ride using UberBlack this afternoon, we managed to get our driver to show his PSV licence. For another level of accountability, Uber has a strict rating system where passengers get to rate their ride quality. A driver has to maintain a certain average star rating, failing of which there would be disciplinary action and they could risk getting banned from driving.
It is normal to see new innovations such as Uber getting resistance from those involved in the traditional system. Instead of calling for ban, the authorities should instead look at ways how to embrace such service and apply necessary laws, which SPAD is currently studying. Nobody can deny that the convenience, cleanliness and professional drivers from Uber is miles better than what our current taxi system could offer. Now Uber is giving more affordable choice with the introduction of UberX that offers clean and newer vehicles at a cheaper rate than a budget taxi. You can compare Uber rates versus other providers over here.
As of now, it is business as usual for Uber. Most recently Uber has expanded with the introduction of Uber Johor Bahru. As an introductory promo, they are giving 10 rides free up to RM25 for the month of August.