Uber has been operating in Malaysia since October last year. It’s an on-demand luxury chauffeur app that allows you to get your own personal driver on demand. Just last month, Uber released an UberX option for cheaper rides attributed to less luxurious cars including Perodua Myvi, Nissan Almera, and Toyota Vios. This option was so positively received by users that it seem to have created the ire of Malaysia’s Taxi Association, which blamed the lower UberX cost on the lack of taxi permits and licenses.
The same issue appears to be at play here, with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) accusing private vehicles of provided taxi-like services via Uber without valid licenses. According to TheStar.com.my, JPJ director-general Datuk Seri Ismail Ahmad said that the vehicles found to be doing so will be impounded. However, taxi and limousine services with the necessary permits will not be affected
Datuk Ismail said: “Using private vehicles as public transport is an offence under Section 16 of the Land Public Transportation Act 2010. It is similar to Teski sapu or illegal taxi and that is why we are taking action to stop it.”
“The public should be aware that by using private vehicles as taxi, they are not covered by any insurance should they get involved in any accident.”
According to the same article by TheStar, he further added that any “individuals of companies providing the services could also be fined between RM1,000 and RM10,000 or jailed up to a year”. The nationwide crackdown is set to begin on October 1st.
If this seems excessive to you, you’re not alone. Uber’s regional General Manager Micheal Brown responded to JPJ’s crackdown on Uber by stating in an e-mail to TheMalayMailOnline.com that “Uber is providing safer, cheaper and more reliable transportation options for riders and we’re creating more opportunities for drivers.”
However, Uber on the other hand has accused JPJ of protecting the local taxi industry that has failed in providing services that are up to par for customers.
He added that the passengers will be riding with “safe and highly qualified drivers with insurance coverage”. This seems to directly contradict Datuk Ismail’s statement on how the private vehicles used by Uber are not being covered by any insurance.
Following this, Uber is asking for the opportunity to discuss with government officials regarding the transport issues. Hopefully, the issues impeding Uber’s success in Malaysia will be solved soon, as users seem to have nothing but praises to sing for Uber.