In a reprieve for drivers, ride-hailing firms and passengers, Malaysia will allow drivers without a public service vehicle (PSV) licence to operate in the market for the next three months, transport minister Anthony Loke said on Friday.
The Southeast Asian country was set to introduce new regulations on Friday barring drivers without a PSV licence from plying the streets. The transport ministry emphasised that its latest move should not be seen as a delay in enforcement but as a measure to ensure a smooth transition for all stakeholders.
E-hailing drivers without a PSV licence can escape a penalty for now but should expect a warning and/or advice on adhering to regulations. The approach, minister Loke said, was also aimed at reducing disruption in the supply of e-hailing services in the country.
He also cautioned drivers not to apply for their licences at the eleventh hour.
Loke has instructed the Road Transport Department and the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) to monitor e-hailing operators and ensure that drivers of their fleet get an up to 20 per cent commission, while taxi drivers moonlighting for such firms must get up to 10 per cent.
“We know that there are some [e-hailing] companies trying to retain their drivers under the guise of giving them an extra 5 per cent fee or charge. They are trying to play with words, and we have warned them that they should not do so,“ he said.
As of July 11, Loke said a total of 17,596 e-hailing Vehicle Permits (eVPs) had been issued. Of these, 13,380 eVPs were issued to private vehicle owners while the remaining were issued to taxi drivers.
A total of 31,731 candidates registered for courses and PSV licence examination at 226 driving institutes nationwide. Of these, about 25,248 candidates had completed their course and 19,891 candidates had passed the PSV licence examination.
Loke said an additional 16,528 candidates had attended PSV courses organised by their respective e-hailing operators (EHO).
Meanwhile, Grab Malaysia said it had already experienced a drop of almost 20 per cent in the number of driver-partners on the road “within hours today”, resulting in difficulty meeting consumer demand and a loss of income for drivers.
Commenting on the approach announced by the Transport Ministry on Friday, the company termed the decision fair and “a stark departure from statements made by certain parties against our drivers”.
“It was alleged that our drivers were given 12 months to complete the process, and are now making excuses and left things to the last minute. Multiple key requirements such as training and examinations were formalised only three months ago, while others were put in place just days ago, such as e-hailing sticker designs that were shared with e-hailing operators last week,” it said.
The firm said it will help solve the challenges being faced by the authorities, including lack of capacity and inadequacy of processes in handling a large volume of applications.