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Taxi company boss apologises for calling Indonesians “poor” after comments on Gojek go viral

Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail, the founder of Big Blue Taxi Services, has issued a public apology for some derogatory statements made towards Indonesians recently. After publicly opposing the Cabinet’s decision to approve motorcycle ride-hailing services in this country, Shamsubahrin made an official statement that has since gone viral.

In his statement, the Big Blue Taxi boss stated that Gojek is only for the poor, referring to Jakarta, Cambodia, India, and Thailand. However, videos of him making these comments haven’t gone down well with various parties—including e-hailing motorcyclists who have threatened to stage a protest a protest at the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta unless Shamsubahrin issues an apology.

“Gojek hanya untuk orang miskin, seperti di Jakarta.”

“The people of Indonesia are in my heart”

As such, the taxi company head has apologised, explaining that the comments were made based on “news reports”, and that he has been receiving negative responses from Indonesians on his social media channels, including WhatsApp.

“I got a lot of texts directly into my handphone from the people of Indonesia, and also Gojek riders. I am also in the nationwide Indonesian Gojek riders (WhatsApp) group. I am in the nationwide Indonesian Grab drivers (WhatsApp) group.”

“I apologise for the mistake in my statement, labelling Indonesians as poor, based off the reports which I received,” said Shamsubahrin. At the moment, it remains to be seen if this will sufficiently appease Indonesian riders who were up in arms over his comments, and who were predicted to stage the protest with a rough number of 10,000 riders.

This isn’t the first time that Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail has been in the spotlight over controversial comments made. The Big Blue Taxi boss was also quoted making inflammatory comments regarding Minister of Youth and Sports, Syed Saddiq:

“Menteri termuda di dunia adalah Syed Saddiq. Menteri muda yang terbodoh di dunia pun adalah Syed Saddiq.”