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Friday, October 7, 2016

Sabah driver seeks court intervention in Uber ban

KOTA KINABALU - An Uber driver in Sabah is seeking a court order to prevent cops and the Road Transport Department officers from refusing his right to work for the e-hailing service application.

Joe Vincent Singgoh, 53 is seeking a court order to prohibit the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board and the police from prohibiting or prosecuting him for driving for Uber, and any law applied should be directed at the company, not drivers of the ride-sharing service.

“I wanted to be involved in doing drives for Uber Technologies to make ends meet. But because of conflicting statements from the authorities I wish to make this application for leave for Judicial Review to set my heart and mind at rest,” he said in his affidavit.

The application was filed yesterday by his lawyer Marcel Jude Joseph.

Singgoh is seeking an order of prohibition against the two respondents from using or relying on the provisions of Section 33 of the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Act 1987 to stop or prosecute him from driving for, or using the app.

He is also seeking a declaration that any manner of prosecution, prevention or prohibition on the applicant to drive for Uber by the respondents is unlawful.

Additionally, he is seeking a mandatory injunction against the two respondents to restrain them from prevent him using or driving the app.

In the affidavit issued by Marcel, Singgoh said that it was the responsibility of Uber Technologies Inc to obtain the relevant licences according to the authorities and the burden should not be put on the drivers.

He said news reports of two Uber drivers being arrested in the city last month had caused him “great anxiety” and concern in continuing to drive for the ride-sharing app.

“It is not the responsibilities for people like us who are mere employees of Uber Technologies Inc to satisfy this provisions of the law. Ordinary people like us who are undergoing hard times due to the down turn of the economy cannot be persecuted or prosecuted unlawfully.

“It is wrong for the 1st and 2nd Respondents to try and pass the buck or to victimise us as the employees of Uber Technologies Inc,” he said.

Yesterday, state licensing board chairman Datuk Raime Unggi reiterated his stand that drivers of ride-sharing apps like Uber and Grabcar had to register with the state before operating, otherwise they would be treated as “pirate taxis”.

Despite declaring it “illegal”, the ride-sharing apps continue to gain popularity among members of the public for their cheaper and convenient service. It has however, earned the ire of taxi drivers who are complaining of the lack of legislation and losing their business.

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