[UPDATE, 28 AUG 1156PM]: We have finally received a copy of the actual, full official statement by SPAD which is not available publicly on SPAD’s website, even at the time this update is posted. The copy was sent to us by Uber. Read more to check it out.
[UPDATE, 28 AUG 1100PM]: Uber has come out with another statement, this time on its official blog. The company has also come out with #MalaysiaNeedsUber hashtag. Read more for the details.
[UPDATE, 28 AUG 1217PM]: We have received an official statement from Uber. Read more for further info.
[ORIGINAL POST, 28 AUG 1024AM]:
In yet another blow to Uber’s operations in Malaysia, the transport service which is rapidly gaining traction in Kuala Lumpur has been deemed illegal by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD). This comes right after a recent public outcry by Gabungan Persatuan dan Syarikat-Syarikat Teksi Semenanjung Malaysia (Gabungan) as well as Sunlight Radio Taxi Service.
Just like what both parties have pointed out in their complaints, all the reasons cited by SPAD behind its verdict are related to the way Uber operates in Malaysia. Here is a summary of them:
– Uber uses private vehicles which are not allowed to carry fare-paying passengers.
– Uber also uses hire-and-drive vehicles which are not allowed to be used as taxis or limousines.
– Vehicles currently used by Uber are also not covered under any commercial vehicle insurance and might not have been put through Puspakom’s periodical checks.
– Some Uber drivers do not possess Public Service Vehicle driving licenses.
According to SPAD, only licensed limousines are eligible to offer chauffeur-driven services and since there are already an abundance of licensed limousines throughout the country, the commission believes that Uber should not have any problem obtaining properly-licensed vehicles and drivers.
Interestingly, the commission has apparently attempted to make contact with Uber via e-mail and telephone but has yet to receive any response from the company according to the chairman of SPAD, Tan Sir Syed Hamid Albar. That being said, it is not known at the moment if SPAD or other related Malaysian authorities are actually banning Uber outright.
We have contacted Uber KL to obtain the company’s official response to SPAD’s statement.
[UPDATE, 28 AUG 1217PM]: Uber has responded to our e-mail with this statement:
Uber’s technology connects riders to the most affordable, safe and reliable ride, and with unprecedented accountability and transparency built into the system, Uber has transformed the way users think about their transportation options.
Safety is Uber’s #1 priority. All Uber partners and their vehicles undergo a rigorous background check and thorough inspection, so when you ride with Uber, you know that you’re riding with a safe and highly qualified driver with full insurance coverage.
Our lead generation software allows partners to capture this economic opportunity through the Uber platform – maximising their income through higher vehicle utilisation (i.e. less time spent driving around without riders in the car), enjoying a flexible driving schedule and being in control of their business. In a nutshell, Uber provides a high quality, safe, reliable and affordable transportation option that also benefits riders, driver partners and the city. It’s a win-win option for everyone.
In 180 cities around the world, people are embracing Uber’s technology and welcoming innovation that brings greater safety for consumers, better income opportunities for drivers and more efficient and congestion reducing transportation options for communities.
– Mike Brown, Regional General Manager
Uber might be doing its best when it comes to driver selection and safety but at the same time, this statement didn’t touch on licensing issues which is most probably the biggest obstacle in Uber’s operation status in Malaysia. We believe there are still more to come from all parties that are involved in this issue, so let’s wait and see.
[UPDATE, 28 AUG 1100PM]: Uber KL has come out with another set of official statement in the form of a blog post at its official website. The post is almost identical to the first statement that we posted above which focused on Uber’s policies on safety as well as the benefit of Uber services to the masses.
In addition to that, Uber has also pointed out that Nevertheless, we believe that this is the most important point in the statement:
“Uber welcomes the chance to discuss with government and non-government officials how innovation can help transform KL’s transportation system. Having meaningful conversations based on facts is important to us.”
…and the company has also come out with the #MalaysiaNeedsUber hashtag.
Well then, let’s hope all parties involved in this issue will be able to sort out their differences and come out with a solution that benefits not only them but more importantly, we the consumers as well.
[UPDATE, 28 AUG 1156PM]: We have finally received a copy of the actual, full official media statement by SPAD regarding Uber services in Malaysia. This is not available publicly on SPAD’s website, even at the time this update is posted. This particular copy was sent to us by Uber:
Based on the statement above, it seems like our original source of this article, The Sun might have misinterpreted parts of the statement as SPAD did not specifically say that Uber is outright illegal. We believe that the term “illegal service” SPAD is actually referring to is the use of private vehicles carrying fare-paying passengers, and not Uber itself.
Nevertheless, it is also clear that Uber still needs to address the concerns that have been raised by SPAD in order to ensure that its operation in Malaysia is 100% legal.