by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
E-hailing service provider Grab Malaysia has expressed concern and dissatisfaction over recent actions taken by enforcement authorities on its drivers wanting to pick up passengers from airports.
Grab, a major player in the local e-hailing sector, claims enforcement agencies have deliberately misinterpret and misquote laws regulating the e-hailing businesses.
“On behalf of our drivers and the management at Grab, we express our deep concern of how the laws have been deliberately misinterpreted and misquoted.
“The insinuation that our government, be it the previous or current, has not done its due diligence to uphold the needs of the rakyat is also misleading and has emboldened certain parties to come out and dictate what they think the law should be, rather than what it is,” the company said in a statement yesterday.
Social media was kept abuzz with reports that the Road Transport Department (JPJ) had issued summons to a Grab driver under the 2003 Road Transport Rules for the misuse of the motor vehicle licence to carry passengers at the Penang International Airport on Jan 3, 2019.
It was alleged that drivers were told they were no longer allowed to wait for passengers at the airport, but only allowed to drop them off.
Besides that, a group of limousine drivers had last month picketed and demanded the government to ban e-hailing services from the airports as it was disrupting the traffic and limiting the taxi drivers’ incomes.
Responding to this, Grab said the sudden move by JPJ to ban e-hailing drivers from picking up passengers from the airport has not only affected the drivers who are trying to earn an honest income, but also the millions who move in and out of the airports, including tourists.
“In case there are still doubts, the e-hailing industry has been placed under a formal regulatory framework and they have been given a six-month moratorium to comply.
“Hence, to say that e-hailing is illegal is a deliberate attempt at misleading the public at large, which essentially also undermines the legislative powers of Parliament,” Grab said.
Grab said the guidelines have been set and the firm has taken steps to ensure adherence to the guidelines by its drivers across the country.
In response to drivers soliciting passengers illegally at airports, Grab said they are confident the drivers did not go out of the way to disregard the set guidelines, however, if some had done so, it does not involve the booking platform.
“The essence of the platform is that the bookings are made via the app and not within the halls of the airports,” it said.
“Secondly, the designated waiting areas for pickups at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2 were provided to all e-hailing drivers by the Transport Ministry and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd themselves after we had a meeting with them in 2017,” Grab said.
The e-hailing provider said it expects relevant authorities to act in accordance with the law and not allow itself to be dictated or distracted by unreasonable voices.
“Like many other e-hailing companies, we agreed and are ready to comply with the progressive direction of our authorities, but our concern remains the level of readiness of the relevant agencies in executing the law,” Grab noted.