PUTRAJAYA: Starting tomorrow, all e-hailing companies must register with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and comply to a set of regulations.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke said the move to regulate the e-hailing industry beginning tomorrow was aimed to give a level playing field for the taxi industry and e-hailing operators.
He said the set of regulations imposed on the e-hailing industry which was also in line with the taxi industry, involved conditions to apply for licence; conditions for vehicles; conditions for driver worthiness and conditions for operation.
The conditions for licence application will need the e-hailing companies to register with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) and the Cooperative Commission of Malaysia (SKM).
There are about 10 e-hailing companies in Malaysia, presently.
One of the conditions for vehicles, is that it is open for all brands with at least three-star rating of Asean NCAP or equivalent to it.
On the conditions for driver worthiness, they are the same as the application made for the public service vehicle (PSV) licence and the conditions for operation is to provide insurance coverage for driver, passenger and third party.
“The industry is given a one-year grace period from the date of enforcement for the e-hailing industry to comply to these conditions,” he said after chairing the Transport Ministry’s post-cabinet meeting.
Despite the one-year moratorium, Loke said the ministry would keep a close watch of things and those who showed lack in commitment to comply could face problems to secure licences.
Loke also listed out some of the level-playing field factors to be implemented including requiring taxis and e-hailing vehicles to undergo vehicle inspection at the Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centre (Puspakom) for at least once a year for vehicles that are more than three years old, registered with the Road Transport Department (RTD).
He also said meter inspection for taxi class licence would only be done once a year compared to twice a year before.
“All drivers are required to undergo a six-hour driving training module at the fee of RM200 per head.
“The training can be done by various parties including taxi companies, driving schools or companies that provide such trainings which have been accredited by SPAD/APAD (Land Public Transport Agency),” said the minister.
On grouses by e-hailing drivers regarding high commission rate imposed by e-hailing companies of up to 25 per cent, Loke said, the government had decided to cap the commission rates.
”Maximum commission rate of 10 per cent has been set for e-hailing service that is run by taxi drivers and 20 per cent for services run by personal vehicle drivers.
“The surcharge rate is also limited to two times of the fare price,” he said.
Asked on the different commission ceiling rates for taxis and personal vehicle drivers, he said the lower maximum commission rate for taxi drivers was to encourage more of those in the taxi industry to migrate to the e-hailing platform.
For existing taxi drivers who wanted to participate in the e-hailing industry, Loke said the government would give them a cash grant of RM5,000 to buy new or used vehicles.
Loke said SPAD had even instructed all e-hailing applications either for drivers or passengers to be equipped with SOS/999 emergency alerts, citing a recent incident involving a Grab driver who was murdered.
“For the safety of e-hailing drivers, passengers are required to upload valid identification card or passport details when they register,” he said, adding all given information should not be abused by those in the e-hailing industry.
In another move to protect the welfare of e-hailing drivers, Loke said e-hailing companies were required to come up with their code of conduct and guidelines for drivers to relay their grouses, which could be audited by the government.
He also said the government would begin to investigate for any elements of monopoly following complaints lodged with SPAD when Grab and Uber merged in March this year.
Loke also said SPAD had conducted a survey on the e-hailing industry involving about 46,000 respondents.
The survey reveals that 52 per cent chose to use e-hailing applications and 70 per cent wanted the government to regulate the e-hailing services.
"The number of trips recorded by e-hailing companies have increased from six million trips a month in 2016 to 18 million trips this year.
"There are about 200,000 registered e-hailing drivers who are active and 50,000 of them are full time drivers," said Loke.
Get the latest World Cup 2018 scores, highlights and updates from our dedicated news page. CLICK HERE