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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Allow Uber in Sabah, say MP and consumer group

Penampang MP Darell Leiking has urged the Sabah Government to allow ride-sharing app Uber to operate in the state.

He told FMT that the Cabinet, through the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), had given the green light for the regulation of ride-sharing services in Peninsular Malaysia and this should also be the case for Sabah and Sarawak, with the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) carrying out the regulatory role.

He was commenting on the recent arrest of two Uber drivers in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

“Did the Cabinet not discuss the issue with CVLB at the same time it approved the regulation of Uber and Grab under SPAD?” he queried, adding this was something Sabah CVLB Chairman Raime Unggi needed to clarify.

While he acknowledged that CVLB enjoyed a degree of autonomy, Leiking said this issue was not merely one of public transport, but also affected the livelihood of many struggling Sabahans.

“I respect the position of the Kota Kinabalu Taxi Operators Association, which is against Uber, but if the government can find an amicable solution in Peninsular Malaysia, why can’t it do the same here?”

He said Uber was a more affordable alternative to the regular taxis, especially those which did not use the meter.

“This is especially the case in Sabah, where public transport is poor, and where the people are already burdened by the high cost of living, low wages and the GST.”

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Public Transport Users Association (4PAM) President Ajit Johl said since ride-sharing apps had been given the go ahead at the Federal Cabinet level, there was no reason why CVLB could not follow the decision and seek to regulate the services in Sabah and Sarawak.

He told FMT that CVLB and SPAD could work together to develop and standardise the regulation framework.

“Consumers in East Malaysia should not be denied the same choices as those in Peninsula Malaysia,” Ajit said, adding it was understandable why Uber was gaining popularity in Sabah, as public transport options there were limited.

“However, the safety and security concerns are understandable, and this is why CVLB should be focusing on developing regulations for such services.”

Recently, two men, aged 37 and 25, were arrested by the authorities in Kota Kinabalu. Subsequently, Kota Kinabalu police chief M Chandra said Uber was not legal in the state.

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