GOJEK, Dego Ride get approval to offer bike-hailing services in Malaysia

A Go-Jek motorcycle taxi driver and a passenger travel along a road in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

Malaysia’s government has given in-principle approval for Indonesian ride-hailing major GOJEK as well as local startup Dego Ride to offer motorcycle taxi services in the country, according to local media reports.

The development was first reported by The Star Online.

Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof said the cabinet had “discussed the matter thoroughly and agreed in principle” for GOJEK to introduce its services in Malaysia.

“The Youth and Sports Ministry and the Transport Ministry have been asked to work together and discuss what laws need to be amended or created to enable this service to be implemented in Malaysia,” he was quoted as saying by The Star Online.

Mohd Redzuan added it might take up to two months for both ministries to look into the implementation of motorbike-hailing services in the country.

In a one-minute video posted on Twitter, Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the Cabinet has unanimously approved both startups’ applications to operate in Malaysia.

“We want to ensure more job opportunities for motorcyclist groups, and our mom-and-pop stores will be able to expand their business through GOJEK’s services. It is also a great last-mile connectivity solution for those who need transport from their homes to the nearest MRT [mass rail transit] or LRT [light rail transit] stations for a very low price,” he said.

GOJEK founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim and president Andre Soelistyo had met Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad earlier this week.

While Dego Ride executives were not present at the recent meeting, Syed Saddiq said the government wants to open up the market so that everyone can compete fairly and equitably.

Founded in 2016, Dego Ride is the pioneer in motorcycle taxi services in Malaysia and had first launched its services in the southern Malaysian state of Johor. However, the government banned its services in 2017 due to safety concerns. Last year, Transport Minister Anthony Loke had ruled out any legalisation of two-wheeled services in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, local taxi drivers have again threatened to take it up to the streets if GOJEK is allowed to enter Malaysia.

Big Blue Taxi Services founder Shamsubahrin Ismail said he does not agree with the proposal to introduce motorycle taxi services. He was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today that it would be “a step backwards” if the government goes ahead with the proposal.