by MARK RAO & LYDIA NATHAN/ pic by TMR
LOCAL start-up company Dego Ride is ready to launch motorcycle ride-sharing services in Malaysia again following the government’s approval for implementation of bike-hailing services.
“We have been engaging with industry-related parties on bringing up local talents such as ourselves to compete and collaborate with Go-Jek,” Dego Ride founder Nabil Feisal Bamadhaj told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) when contacted.
“We believe that our pool of talented and experienced riders is ready to provide motorbike taxi rides again across Malaysia.
“As I see it, Dego Ride had first mover advantage in Malaysia as a local player and I believe that the Cabinet and the government will factor that into their consideration,” Nabil added.
Yesterday, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman announced that the Cabinet has collectively agreed for the implementation of Go-Jek-Dego Ride’s economic model.
“We want to ensure that our ‘Mat Motor’ will get thousands of job opportunities and at the same time, helping our hawkers and young entrepreneurs to leverage on these services for their products,” Syed Saddiq said in a video recording posted on his Twitter account.
He added that bike-hailing services would help address the issue of last-mile connectivity at lower fares for Malaysians in general.
On Monday, Syed Saddiq announced plans to bring Indonesia’s Go-Jek to Malaysia after his meeting with Go-Jek founder Nadiem Makarim and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
However, critics questioned why Go-Jek was accorded a preferential treatment, as Malaysia has its own bike-hailing players such as Dego Ride and JomRides.
Subsequently, Syed Saddiq clarified that the bike-hailing industry will not be monopolised by Go-Jek alone, saying Dego Ride is a good alternative mode of transportation.
It was reported that Syed Saddiq plans to bring the bikehailing proposal from a youth employment angle, while the Transport Ministry said it will study the ecosystem for such services.
Dego Ride became Malaysia’s first motorcycle-based ride-sharing provider when it began providing such services towards the end of 2016.
However, two separate ruling governments declared its services illegal, particularly due to safety concerns.
Dego Ride was first declared illegal in 2017 by then Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi.
After the change of administration in May last year, Dego Ride announced the return of its motorcycle taxi service in September, but Transport Minister Anthony Loke categorically stated that his ministry will never legalise the company’s operation due to safety issues.
Speaking to TMR, Nabil said the company and its riders decided to stop providing motorbike ride services since the announcement. This was to avoid carrying out any activities that could be deemed unlawful, he said.
“However, the (ride-sharing) option remained on our website and our mobile application and we did continually receive requests and calls to provide such services and tried our best to fulfil at the full discretion of the rider and the passenger,” he said.
Meanwhile, JomRides head of marketing Musfaizal Mustafa expressed his concern on the regulation for bike-hailing, pointing out that the existing law for e-hailing industry in general is still a work in progress.
“The regulation for e-hailing is already a bit chaotic, now with bikes, I hope it does not get worse,” he told TMR.
Musfaizal also questioned why was Go-Jek given the priority, as it is a foreign firm and that there are 37 registered e-hailing operators in the country.
According to Nabil, Dego Ride’s logistics business is steadily growing and currently services several areas nationwide.
The company has a ready rider base and knowledge of the local market to relaunch its motorcycle ride-hailing service.
At the same time, Go-Jek’s presence and industry experience in its home base in Indonesia, as well as Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam markets could prove invaluable to Malaysia.