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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Malaysians Want Taxi Drivers To Improve, Not Keep Protesting Over Uber And GrabCar

The announcement by Malaysian Taxi Drivers’ Transformation Association (Pers1m) yesterday that it was planning a six-day protest over the recent Cabinet ruling on ride-sharing apps has been met with exasperation by Malaysians.

Pers1m president Kamaruddin Mohd Hussain said taxi drivers are unhappy the Cabinet for allowing Uber and GrabCar to be regulated instead of outlawed.

“The date (of the protest) has yet to be determined but it will take place.

“The goal of the strike is to show the government that the taxi industry is suffering because of the unfair playing field," Kamaruddin said, The New Straits Times reports.

However, many Malaysians polled by local media have voiced their disapproval of the taxi drivers protests as they only serve to drive away customers to seek out the services of ride-sharing apps.

“Just because you cannot take the heat of a competition, you strike? How does that justify your cause?

“If you stop your service in the name of protest, people are obviously going to head to your competitors and that being Uber and Grab,” a frequent cab user named Farah told a local English news daily.

“Taxi drivers should not take it to the streets or break the law or even so attack Uber or Grab drivers because we are all here to make some money the right way,” 28-year-old Lynda Leong points out that taxi drivers will only suffer a backlash from customers.

Local online news portal The Mole also highlighted users concerns over the taxi drivers thug-like behaviour and negative perception created by venting their grouses publicly.

“These taxi drivers should change their attitude. People go for good service that’s worth their money. There are even few incidents where taxi drivers refused to send customers, they’re being picky,” Lucia Samuel wrote.

“The people are getting tired over the overpriced taxi ride charges. Not to mention those who refuse to use meters and those who treat customers horribly.

“If you really want the people to choose you over Uber and GrabCar, you should change your way of doing things. We understand that these taxi drivers are looking for some earnings but the customers must be treated well,” Khairul Anuar Ariffin advised.

“Taxi drivers should pull their act together and upgrade themselves to be more competitive against Uber and GrabCar. They must be more courteous to passengers, respect other road users and stop behaving like thugs,” Azman Salleh implored of the taxi drivers.

On Saturday, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai elaborated further on the Cabinet's ruling, explaining that the move will create a more even playing field as the industry moves to regulate the ride-sharing services while the traditional taxi industry will be increasingly deregulated to the benefit of current taxi drivers.

Blogger Lim Sian See had similarly advised taxi drivers to understand the bigger picture at stake.

"Taxi drivers should understand that it is almost impossible for the government to enforce any ban on Uber and Grabcar - as much of these transactions would happen privately and it is hard to differentiate a Uber driver picking up a passenger and a friend picking up another friend.

"Technology will mean that it is easy to circumvent any attempt to block the services.

"The best approach for the government would be: 'If you can't beat them, join them' - meaning to regulate Uber and Grabcar and to get them to play by some of the same rules of the taxi drivers such as insurance for drivers, regular car check-ups and collect taxes.

"Let the government present their plans and look at them first before going on a disruptive strike that will further damage your reputation.

"Your strike will NOT force the government to abandon their plans as there is little alternative," the blogger points out that the taxi drivers protests will not achieve any positive result.

- mD

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