Malaysia introduces two new e-hailing regulations ahead of Oct 12 deadline

Vehicles sit in traffic on a road in the Bangsar area of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg

Malaysia has issued two new e-hailing regulations that will take effect on October 12, along with several earlier announced norms.

The new rules require drivers to have a printed e-hailing vehicle permit (EVP) and to convert their vehicle category from individual private vehicle to e-hailing private vehicle (AH). The regulations were introduced last Friday during a briefing by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and the Land Public Transport Agency, ride-hailing player Grab said.

“We are taken aback by this sudden change, especially when we are only a few days away from the enforcement date,” the Southeast Asian ride-hailer said in a note to its driver-partners on Monday. “While we negotiate with the relevant authorities, we urge you to do the necessary to meet the full list of requirements by 12 Oct.”

The new norm to change the vehicle category is seen as going against a previous relaxation by Transport Minister Anthony Loke announced in May allowing e-hailing drivers to retain their cars as individual private vehicles.

Loke on Wednesday clarified that the AH code given to vehicles used for e-hailing by JPJ will not appear on vehicle grants. Drivers, therefore, will be able to sell their cars as a personal vehicle.

By October 12, e-hailing drivers must also register for a public service vehicle (PSV) licence or proof of passing the exam while waiting for the licence, as well as get the Puspakom (Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centres) disc if the vehicle is more than three years old, an e-hailing sticker and valid e-hailing insurance.

These requirements were earlier supposed to be enforced by July, but the local ministry had extended the deadline by three months.

Other ride-hailing players in Malaysia include MyCar, Dacsee, JomRides, PicknGo and Mula.

The Malaysia Competition Commission recently proposed a $20-million fine on Grab for violating competition laws by imposing restrictive clauses on its drivers.

Grab gained its leading position in Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing market after acquiring Uber‘s regional operations in 2018. The ride-hailer said in a statement that it was unaware of any breach of competition laws.