Malaysia legalises e-hailing services as Grab, Uber compete to expand regional presence

FILE PHOTO - People wait for the start of ride-hailing company Grab's fifth anniversary news conference in Singapore June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

Malaysia’s parliament on Thursday passed two bills that will legalise e-hailing services, as ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber Technologies Inc race to expand in the region.

Grab expects to raise $2.5 billion from investors in a bid to extend its lead over Uber in the region, as major companies aim to tap into Southeast Asia’s developing economies driven by a young and tech-savvy population.

The amendments to Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Act and the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) Act will allow ride hailing services to operate on an “intermediation business license”, a new category specific for the service.

The new license will regulate “the business of facilitating arrangements, bookings or transactions of an e-hailing vehicle whether for any valuable consideration or money’s worth or otherwise”, according to the CVLB bill made available on the Malaysian parliament website.

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Cabinet agreed to legalise ride-hailing services last year even as taxi driver associations protested, arguing that their livelihoods were threatened by the private hire services.

The CVLB had previously declared that both Uber and Grab drivers were operating illegally in the country.

Singapore-based Grab operates private car, motorcycle, taxi and car-pooling services across seven countries with 1.1 million drivers, and claims a market share of 95 percent in third-party taxi-hailing and 71 percent in private vehicle hailing in Southeast Asia.

Both Grab and Uber recently launched operations in Myanmar, aiming to capitalise on the country’s burgeoning mobile services market.

Also Read:

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Grab rolls out new tech features to capture market share in Myanmar

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.