Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Grab often operate in the grey area of the law. Some countries have outright banned the service citing violation of transportation laws while others have started regulating with special licences.
Despite protests by taxi drivers, the Malaysian government appears to be supportive of ride-sharing to an extent that our recent Budget 2017 encourages people to use their BR1M money to purchase new vehicles for the service. Now both Uber and Grab are finally legal with the latest amendments passed in Parliament.
The latest amendments to the Land Public Transport Act 2010 and Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987 Act were passed in Dewan Rakyat today. This legalises e-hailing providers such as Uber and Grab in Peninsular Malaysia as well as Sabah and Sarawak.
The new amendments also require providers to acquire a new intermediation business licence which is a new category for the service. This licence will regulate the business of facilitating arrangements, bookings or transactions of an e-hailing vehicle whether for any valuable consideration or money’s worth or otherwise.
According to Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, the Minister in the PM’s Department, e-hailing drivers will be imposed with the same rules and regulation as taxi drivers. This includes medical check-ups, vehicle inspections as well as insurance and drivers’ identification card. She also mentioned that e-hailing providers should also be responsible for covering both driver and riders with insurance coverage.
On top of that, it is also an offence for any person to assault, hinder or obstruct those who are involved in e-hailing services. Anyone convicted of doing so would be liable to a fine of RM1,000, jail sentence of not more than 3 months or both.
When it comes to implementation, it isn’t clear how this will impact existing drivers in Malaysia. Some drivers have expressed concerns about the process of being a registered driver and whether they would need to fork out more money for additional fees and taxes. It was earlier reported that any individual who provides an e-hailing service without a licence can be fined up to RM500,000 while those who don’t comply with CVLB conditions can be fined between RM1,000 to RM200,000 with possible jail time.
Grab today has also announced several new safety measures for both driver and passenger. The app now gets an emergency button which will connect you to MERS 999 (Malaysia Emergency Response Services) in the case of emergencies.
Grab is also distributing in-car dash cameras for added safety. This will be given for free to top performing female drivers and platinum drivers. Eligible drivers will be contacted by SMS for the collection of these cameras and such vehicles will be carrying a sign to inform passengers that their ride is being monitored for safety purposes.