Editor’s Update: Uber’s spokesperson has gotten in touch with Vulcan Post to clarify the matter. SPAD’s official statement have only requested that Uber abides by applicable Malaysian laws.
Mike Brown, Regional General Manager of Uber, has also issued the following statement:
Uber’s technology connects riders to the most affordable, safe and reliable ride, and with unprecedented accountability and transparency built into the system, Uber has transformed the way users think about their transportation options.
“Safety is Uber’s #1 priority. All Uber partners and their vehicles undergo a rigorous background check and thorough inspection, so when you ride with Uber, you know that you’re riding with a safe and highly qualified driver with full insurance coverage.
Our lead generation software allows partners to capture this economic opportunity through the Uber platform – maximising their income through higher vehicle utilisation (i.e. less time spent driving around without riders in the car), enjoying a flexible driving schedule and being in control of their business. In a nutshell, Uber provides a high quality, safe, reliable and affordable transportation option that also benefits riders, driver partners and the city. It’s a win-win option for everyone.
In 180 cities around the world, people are embracing Uber’s technology and welcoming innovation that brings greater safety for consumers, better income opportunities for drivers and more efficient and congestion reducing transportation options for communities.”
Officially launched in Malaysia October last year, the app allows you to flag down a premium ride at your pick up location. It also has a cheaper UberX option for customers looking for a cheaper alternative than the luxurious Uber rides.
Just yesterday, Tech in Asia reported that Uber was facing local backlashes from the Taxi Association of Malaysia as the company is believed to be affecting the income of taxi drivers in the Klang Valley. The deputy president of Malaysia’s Taxi Association complaint that Uber charges riders based on distance and time of service, which does not take into account other hidden costs especially taxi permits and licenses.
“The company does not have any business licence or office in Malaysia but has been operating in dozens of cities around the world through the Internet and smartphone application. What’s worrying is that Uber does not have a taxi permit issued by SPAD and it is also believed that its drivers do not have the public service vehicle (PSV) licence. This situation will cause many problems to the passengers in the event of any untoward incidents, crime cases or road accidents”
– Deputy President Datuk Mohd Alias Abdul.
And because of that too, Uber rides have been “insanely cheap” for its cheaper UberX option, as quoted by a recent happy customer Timothy Tiah.
Following a week-long debate between Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and taxi drivers, SPAD has just declared Uber, the Google-backed service illegal in Malaysia. According to The Sun Daily, Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar also stated that the use of private vehicles, referring to the Uber cars, to carry fare-paying passengers is an offence under the Land Public Transport Act 2010.
“This illegal service provided could be colloquially referred to as kereta sapu. As the regulator in charge of Malaysia’s land public transport, we take compliance with the law, local rules and regulations very seriously. We will not hesitate to take enforcement action on service providers who do not comply with the laws,” he said in a press statement according to The Sun Daily.
SPAD also found that some of Uber’s driver do not own a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) driving licence, an offence under the country’s Road Transport Act 1987 as it might endanger the safety of passengers.
Uber recently launched its service in Johor Bahru too, offering free luxury rides for customers, but it looks like that might be short-lived.