Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong has revealed that the government will soon make it mandatory for delivery riders, or p-hailing riders, to obtain a Goods Driving Licence (GDL). This provision is just one of several that will be introduced in three upcoming pieces of legislation meant to further regulate the p-hailing industry.
Wee said that last Friday, the Cabinet gave the thumbs up to amend the Road Transport Act 1987 [Act 333], Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987 [Act 334], and Land Public Transport Act 2010 [Act 715]. “The amendments are for purposes of supervision and setting regulations, and the views of various parties of interest will be taken into account,” said the transport minister.
The three bills will be brought forward to be tabled and debated on in parliament during the next meeting, which will take place from 26 October to 15 December. He justified the GDL requirement by saying that it will enable the Ministry of Transport to keep track of the number of riders in the country.
The requirement is also meant to address complaints from the public regarding p-hailing riders being reckless on the road and not abiding by traffic laws, with Wee stressing that the GDL will provide driving courses. “We will know who are those working in the p-hailing service and their behaviour,” he said.
Additionally, another provision from these amendments will see the minimum age for obtaining the Goods Driving Licence being lowered from 21 to 18. This move was revealed by Wee back in June, with some experts saying it could actually increase the number of road crash casualties as 80% of traffic collision cases involve motorcycles, particularly involving teenagers.
Rider welfare and regulation of the p-hailing industry has been in the spotlight as gig workers recently attempted a mass strike to protest alleged reduced base fares, a claim that food delivery giant Grab has denied. Going against the grain, AirAsia has started offering full-time employment with benefits to its riders, leading to some riders demanding other players to do the same.