By MARK RAO / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
Uber Technologies Inc welcomed the continued financial support from the government in the form of cash grants for prospective drivers, reinforcing the support of the authorities towards ride-sharing participants.
At the budget announcement last Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak said the RM5,000 subsidy on first-time vehicle purchases for drivers looking to join e-hailing services, implemented earlier this year, will be continued in 2018.
Uber GM for Malaysia and Singapore Warren Tseng said the decision is positive for the e-hailing industry and it would also improve the overall national transport landscape.
“We welcome this move to empower more Malaysians with the choice to use technology for flexible earning opportunities and to raise their socio-economic status,” Tseng said in a statement.
He said the earlier government-backed initiative to encourage the bottom 40 group to use the 1Malaysia People’s Aid financial aid to purchase a Proton Iriz for e-hailing use is underway, following collaborations between Proton Holdings Bhd, Bank Simpanan Nasional and Uber.
Meanwhile, Grab said the RM5,000 grant is in line with the company’s vehicle financing partnership with Malaysia’s largest automaker, Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua).
“Under this initiative, Grab provides Malaysian-made cars like the Perodua Bezza, Myvi and Alza at a reduced price, allowing more taxi drivers to be able to own a car and be part of e-hailing services,” Grab Malaysia country head Sean Goh said.
“Grab supports government initiatives in providing opportunities to registered taxi drivers to become part of the e-hailing services industry.”
The leading e-hailing operator for South-East Asia will collaborative with the government to improve its services.
Uber is already undertaking the necessary steps to prepare itself for the new regulations due sometime next year, after the Dewan Rakyat approved the amendments to the Land Public Transport Act 2010 and Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987.
Tseng said Uber is also preparing to help interested e-hailing drivers to meet the standards set.
“We expect to apply the lessons learnt in our neighbouring market to ensure an efficient and effective transition to this new regulatory environment for our driver-partners in Malaysia,” he added.
The laws — which are to allow e-hailing operators and traditional cabbies to co-exist in the passenger-fare industry — were passed in August this year and will be implemented in stages within the course of a year.