E-hailing drivers’ worry as deadline looms

According to MeHDA, drivers recently complain about infringements of their rights relating to the PSV courses


WITH the July 12 registration deadline looming, the e-hailing industry is again plagued by concerns over procedures and standards of operations of both regulators and e-hailing operators (EHOs).

According to the Malaysian E-Hailing Drivers Association (MeHDA), drivers recently complained about infringements of their rights relating to the Public Service Vehicle (PSV) courses.

President Daryl Chong said among the complaints is that an EHO had registered all its drivers within the Klang Valley and Melaka for its own institution’s e-learning programme via the Road Transport Department (JPJ) MySikap system without the drivers’ consent.

“One of MeHDA’s panel driving institutes, Malayan Driving Institute Sungai Buloh (IMM) had to turn away drivers who previously were registered with it because their names were found linked to another institution,” he said.

Chong talked to The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) after speaking to the owner of IMM, who revealed that the institution did not immediately submit the drivers’ names into its system until three days prior to the course.

“Each class has a maximum number of people and IMM wanted to make sure all classes were up to capacity, but some drivers were told that they would not be allowed to attend the class physically at the scheduled date,”he said.

Chong added that drivers were unhappy as consent was not given to the EHO to automatically register them.

“No doubt there is an option for drivers to opt out from the e-learning PSV programme, but what the EHO fails to see is how much trouble and hassle it has caused the drivers.

“Even though the request to remove and drop the drivers’ particulars from the MySikap system takes about two days to come into effect, drivers will then be forced to reschedule their PSV classes subject to the driving school’s availability,” Chong said.

He also said some drivers preferred to attend in-class training sessions as some slides may be difficult to understand and need further explanation.

“Previously, the passing rate for the exams was quite low. Some drivers said the slides were hard to follow and language might have been an issue. So, I would like to see drivers exercise their rights to choose first,” Chong added.

Another concern that MeHDA wants resolved is the correct registration procedure for passengers.

Chong noted that since the beginning, registrations have only required the passengers’ names and contact numbers to be uploaded into the mobile app.

In February, Grab Malaysia launched its facial recognition technology to enhance safety features for drivers and passengers and said it would be rolled out in phases beginning March this year.

The technology was the first of its kind among the EHOs in Malaysia and it was recently reported that existing and new Grab passengers have until July 12 to submit a live selfie before using its platform.

Grab said the selfie is a mandatory one-time identity verification and will be used to verify a passenger’s identity for future rides. However, Chong said this will be more of a deterrent than a solution as there is no proof that the person in the selfie will actually be the person awaiting a Grab car.

“In the past when EHOs were approached for a more formalised manner of registration using a passport or a Malaysian identity card, they said no because of privacy concerns.

“The issue now is how the whole industry can execute these procedures seamlessly. MeHDA will push for a standardised version of having passengers’ passport or identity card details, because by right this is the way it should have been done all along,” he told TMR.

Meanwhile, Chong reminded drivers that the government will not postpone the deadline for the PSV licences and other mandatory criteria, and urged them to quickly get everything sorted out.

“Our mantra to them is to get it done as soon as possible and not to wait until the very last minute. We have prepared our drivers before attending the PSV course by sharing the official electronic textbook on Facebook and WhatsApp chat groups as well,” he said.

Chong added that MeHDA hopes for the government to look into issues like fare regulations and drivers’ rights, especially on matters of sudden suspensions and driver bans without explanation.