UPDATE 1, 400PM 23/09: We have received the official statement from Uber regarding this issue…and it is a feisty one. Read more to check it out.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE, 926PM 22/09:
A month ago, Uber was suddenly dragged into the limelight after local taxi operators questioned the legality of the service in Malaysia. Not enough with that, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has also pointed several legal and technical issues that the fledgling company need to address regarding its operation in Malaysia.
Today, Uber can now add Road Transport Department (JPJ) into the growing list of Malaysian authorities that have taken interest on the service. Not in a positive way though as JPJ has planned to halt Uber’s usage on private cars which is one of the issues that were pointed out by SPAD last month.
As reported by The Star, the operation will begin on this coming 1 October and all vehicles that are found committing the offence will be impounded according to JPJ’s director-general Datuk Seri Ismail Ahmad. Furthermore, individuals or companies that are involved in the offence will also facing between RM 1,000 and RM 10,000 worth of fine or up to 1 year of jail.
Ismail pointed out that the act of using private vehicles as public transport are similar to illegal taxis or commonly known as teksi sapu; identical to what SPAD has mentioned last month. However, taxis and limousines that are hired through Uber will not be affected by this operation since these vehicles are usually covered by commercial auto insurance that covers both the driver and passengers.
Uber drivers recruitment page for Johor Bahru, as at 9:19PM 22 September.
In general, this could spell trouble for UberX drivers in Malaysia (shown above, for Johor Bahru) as the only main requirement that one need to fulfil to be an UberX driver is that he or she need to be a commercially licensed driver. As a comparison, the current requirement for UberBLACK drivers in Kuala Lumpur (shown below) is listed as “a professional chauffeur with a commercial license and commercial auto insurance” which fit the description of commercially-licensed taxis and limousines.
Ultimately, JPJ’s operation will put a stop to one of Uber’s signature business model: enabling anyone that are deemed good enough by the company to earn extra income by using their own vehicles to provide ride to customers. Technically, this doesn’t mean that Uber have to close its operation in Malaysia but there are possibilities that the company might not able to provide the lower-cost UberX due to the law restrictions.
Uber drivers recruitment page for Kuala Lumpur, as at 9:20PM 22 September.
At this moment, we have yet to hear any official response from Uber but we are confident that the company will have something to say about this issue soon enough.
[Source: The Star]
UPDATE 1, 400PM 23/09: As expected, Uber do have something to say regarding its latest issue with Malaysian authorities. Here’s an official statement from Uber’s regional office in Singapore:
“This is clearly an attempt to protect the taxi industry that has failed its customers in Kuala Lumpur. Preventing our driver partners from earning a living and getting people safely and reliably around town doesn’t just hurt the residents and visitors, it hurts the city. Uber is providing safer, cheaper and more reliable transportation options for riders and we’re creating more opportunities for drivers. Safety is our top priority and all riders can be assured that when you ride with Uber, you know that you’re riding with a safe and highly qualified driver with insurance coverage. Uber has and always will stand by our driver partners 100%.” – Mike Brown, Regional General Manager
This is definitely the most fiery response that we heard so far from Uber. Let’s see how the other parties will react to this statement.