By P PREM KUMAR / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
The government is expected to conduct a probe on Grab on its potential monopoly of the e-hailing business, as well as complaints on its fare structure following the merger with Uber earlier this year.
The move is parallel to Singaporean authorities’ recent declaration that the two companies’ merger might have broken competition law, and that the deal could be reversed.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke said a detailed monopoly risk study will be done in the e-hailing market following the merger of Grab and Uber.
“The government is studying the e-hailing service monopoly risk after the merger between Grab and Uber through the Malaysia Competition Commission.
“We don’t want to see a monopoly in any sector,” he told a press conference in Putrajaya yesterday.
Loke said the Land Public Transport Commission has received numerous complaints on the increase in Grab’s fare, which is detrimental to consumers.
Uber sold its operations in eight South- East Asian markets to its closest competitor — in return for a 27.5% stake in Grab.
Last week, Singapore’s Competition and Consumer Commission concluded that Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s operations in the city-state has led to a substantial lessening of competition, and the e-hailing firm had significantly increased prices since the deal went through.
The commission proposed for both Uber and Grab to address the concerns or they might have to unwind the merger, apart from facing financial penalties.
Meanwhile, Loke said the regulation on e-hailing operations in the country would be gazetted yesterday and all parties will be required to adhere to the new guidelines to operate in Malaysia.
He said the regulation will require e-hailing drivers to undergo similar procedures required of taxi drivers, to enable a level-playing field.
The commission e-hailing firms imposed on taxi drivers and private drivers has been capped to 10% and 20% respectively. Grab currently charges 25% commission on every trip by drivers.
Every e-hailing driver in Peninsular Malaysia will need to pay RM115 to receive a driver’s identification card issued by authorities, besides having to sit for a six-hour safety course in certified driving schools, costing RM200 per person.
Loke said charges on the e-hailing firms will be determined on a later date.
He said e-hailing drivers will be required to sit for a Public Service Vehicle license test and have their vehicles inspected at the Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centre (Puspakom), similar to taxi drivers.
The vehicle check, however, is extended to once every year. Currently, taxis are required to undergo Puspakom test twice annually. All stakeholders will be given a one-year grace period effective today to meet all requirements under the regulation.
Under the new regulation, e-hailing services also require passengers to upload their identification cards or passports to provide more security for drivers.
Loke said e-hailing vehicles would also be required to be insured, including for the drivers, passengers and third parties.
Currently, there are 10 e-hailing companies in the country, recording approximately 18 million trips every month, the minister stated.
He added that there are 200,000 active e-hailing drivers, of which some 50,000 are full-time drivers.
Amendments to the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987 and Land Public Transport Act 2010, which enable the government to regulate the e-hailing sector, were passed in Parliament late last year.