As part of the 2020 Economic Stimulus Package, the Malaysian government will be providing a one-off payment of RM600 to taxi drivers, tourist bus drivers, tourist guides and registered trishaw drivers. The purpose of financial aid is to cushion the economic impact of reduced tourist arrivals due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, this initiative doesn’t include eHailing and its drivers are not happy that they are not seen as reliant on the tourism industry.
According to MeHDA (Malaysia eHailing Drivers Association), its drivers should be included as they also serve tourists as well as regular passengers throughout the country, which is similar to taxis. The association is disappointed that they have been left out and claimed that eHailing drivers are now earning less due to the coronavirus outbreak. It also added that passengers have cut down on unnecessary travel and the situation has affected the income of eHailing drivers, which is similar to taxi drivers.
Since eHailing is subject to the same rules as taxis which include obtaining a PSV licence and going through Puspakom vehicle inspections, they shouldn’t be excluded when the government provides aid to taxi drivers. The association shared there are approximately 100,000 eHailing drivers with PSV licence throughout the country.
The association has called upon the government to reconsider its decision and to include eHailing drivers under the economic stimulus package. It added that eHailing drivers should be treated fairly together with taxi drivers, tourist bus drivers, tourist guides and registered trishaw drivers.