No ban on e-hailing, says new transport minister

According to Loke, this is because it would be contrary to the international trend

By P PREM KUMAR / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

E-hailing services will remain part of the country’s public transport landscape, as the government strives to properly regulate the sector.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke (picture) said the government has no plans to ban e-hailing services in the country, as it would be contrary to the international trend.

He said regulation for the e-hailing sector would be enforced by mid-July, to ensure a level playing field between the taxi industry and e-hailing players.

“In the Cabinet meeting (yesterday), Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) has instructed the ministry to look into immediate measures to enable a level playing field between the taxi drivers and e-hailing industry,” Loke told a press conference at his minis- try yesterday.

The minister said all aspects of e-hailing operations will be scrutinised in enforcing the regulation, which includes a potential monopoly by Grab Malaysia.

“We are looking at all aspects, but if you are talking about banning them, it is not part of our agenda,” he said.

Loke said the current government will move forward from where the previous Barisan Nasional government left off, which was after amendments to the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987 and Land Public Transport Act 2010 were passed in Parliament last year.

“They have amended the law, but did not enforce regulation. We will do that and I will be meeting the Land Public Transport Commission to get in-depth details on the regulations,” Loke said.

He added that taxi drivers should also give the new government some time for their issues to be sorted, as the current government is only one-month old.

“I heard that some taxi drivers’ associations want to protest during the Parliament proceedings next month, but things will be sorted by then. Just give us some time,” he said.

Meanwhile, Loke said the Transport Ministry will launch the country’s first e-bidding system for vehicle registration on Aug 1 for the special “Malaysia” series vehicle number plates, launched in conjunction with Merdeka Day.

He said a local information technology (IT) firm has offered to set up and operate the system for the ministry for free, as a pilot project.

“If it is successful, we will look at ways to transit to the e-bidding system for future vehicle registration processes.

“We have agreed (to the system) in principle, but it is still pending approval from the Finance Ministry,” he said.

Loke, however, declined to name the IT firm involved until a formal signing ceremony — but insisted that the free service is not tied up with any obligations.

He said once the system is up and running, bidding for the special vehicle series registration numbers would run from Aug 1-16.

“Under the (existing) conventional system (for bidding vehicle plate numbers), applicants need to pay 50% (of the bid) via bank draft, and if the person does not win the bid, the process to return the deposit can take between two and three months.

“With this (e-bidding) system, it is done online via credit card. Even if the bidder does not succeed, he does not have to pay anything,” Loke added.