Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim has said that Uber is illegal in Malaysia because its drivers operate without the proper paperwork. Shahidan said that drivers who want to offer this kind of service must possess a Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD)-issued licence and permit.
The comments came as Shahidan answered a question from Gopeng MP Dr Lee Boon Chye, who had inquired about what the government is doing to assist taxi drivers in competing against ride-sharing services like Uber.
“Using the vehicles (rented or personal) to provide a taxi service is a criminal offence under Section 16 of the Land Public Transport Act 2010, which clearly states that only those with an operator licence can provide public vehicle services,” said Shahidan.
Shahidan also said that an Act may be amended in the future to empower SPAD to regulate taxi booking system through smartphone applications. This comes soon after SPAD itself said that it was unable to ban the Uber app as it did not fall under the purview of the commission. The government has also held a face-to-face meeting with Uber management to discuss the issues that had arisen from the service.
Taxi drivers have been protesting against ride-sharing apps with greater frequency over the last few months. The protests have also lead to cabbies taking the matters into their own hands by harassing drivers that they suspect of working for Uber. The government has issued a written notice to taxi drivers warning them against committing acts that were against the law, but it is unknown if this has had any effect.
[Source: The Rakyat Post]