KUALA LUMPUR: Though today is the day e-hailing drivers must have the public service vehicle (PSV) licence, there’s still a beeline of applicants at the Grab driver centre in Petaling Jaya near here yesterday.

The situation was a mess, said a driver who wanted to be identified only as Zamri, adding that thousands of drivers who were members of a closed Facebook group had been sharing updates on the situation daily.

“Many drivers just want to get the application process over with. With the application out of the way, they can at least get one foot in the door, which will help them when the new regulation is enforced on Friday (today).”

He said he paid RM800 to get the licence, together with the compulsory vehicle inspection by the Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centre (Puspakom).

“I had to change two of my car’s tyres, which was part of the high cost. I had to do it because it is my source of income and I drive full time.

“Many drivers who do it part time didn’t want to bother with the whole thing.

“For those who have the licence, we now have to wait for the electronic vehicle permit (EVP) to be issued by Grab. I believe Grab now has its hands full trying to deal with this.”

Another driver, Selvam, said he would continue to pick up passengers although he had yet to obtain the licence.

“I don’t know what will happen on July 12. We have not received any info from our company on whether we can or cannot access the system,” said the driver from Johor.

Shamsul, a driver who had obtained the licence, said many drivers would continue to drive today as they had no idea if their account would be suspended.

“We will only know if we can pick up passengers after accessing the system,” he said, adding that he spent less than RM500 to obtain the licence, including vehicle inspection by Puspakom.

“I paid RM30 for the licence and RM15 for a medical check-up. I paid RM77 for the Puspakom inspection, which I failed because of a faulty brake system, and had to undergo another inspection, which cost RM25.”

(Top and bottom pix) E-hailing drivers queuing up at the Grab office in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, yesterday. PIX BY MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN

MyCar cautioned drivers who had yet to obtain the licence that they would not be able to access MyCar’s system and make applications after today.

Its founder, Mohd Noah Maideen, said the company would suspend the accounts of those who did not get the licence beginning July 11 (yesterday).

“They (drivers) need to abide by the law set by the government.

“Like drivers from other e-hailing companies, if they want to be MyCar drivers, they need to go through all the procedures to obtain the licence.

“If not, they will have to face the consequences,” he told the New Straits Times.

He said there were 3,000 to 4,000 MyCar drivers, out of a total of 70,000, who had obtained the licence and the number would increase.

Asked if those who had yet to obtain the licence would be allowed to drive after today, he said the drivers would not be able to pick up passengers as their accounts would be suspended.

“They cannot proceed with the e-hailing system if they don’t have the licence. I know many drivers have regular passengers and they will continue to offer their services, but they risk being detained by the authorities if they get caught.”

Noah said roadblocks by the Road Transport Department would ensure e-hailing drivers adhered to the new regulations.

“We need to educate drivers on the importance of obtaining the licence as it is to ensure their safety and that of passengers.

“We need to be firm so that they do not take the regulations lightly.”

Noah echoed the calls by the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations and Consumer Association of Penang, which called on the government to extend the deadline to obtain the licence.

Noah said a three-month extension was necessary to allow all e-hailing drivers to get the licence.

He said many drivers were waiting for the licence to be issued and urged the Transport Ministry to review the deadline.

NST contacted Grab to find out if drivers who had yet to obtain the licence would be allowed to pick up passengers after today, but its spokesman declined to comment.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke is expected to hold a press conference on the matter today.

“I will answer in my post-cabinet press conference tomorrow (today),” he said in reply to NST’s text message.