SUBANG JAYA, Oct 30, 2015:

Transport Minister and MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai says the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) must regulate Uber and similar mobile and online applications providing private car service.

Liow said his ministry had discussed with SPAD and the ministry’s advice was that SPAD should regulate private car companies.

He said if SPAD was unable to ban services such as Uber, then the solution was to regulate them by getting the government agency to solve the matter as soon as possible by coming up with a win-win formula for all.

However, Liow also said taxi drivers had a case to argue as private car companies were not regulated which meant there was no level playing field.

Last month, Badan Bertindak Pemandu Teksi Bersatu (United Taxi Driver Task Force) held a protest and claimed that taxi drivers could no longer bear the fuel cost hike for natural gas-powered vehicles (NGV).

They also said they were burdened with the goods and services tax while also being plagued by unlicensed private car services.

They also argued that private car companies such as GrabCar and Uber were not authorised by SPAD, meaning the safety of their vehicles were not verified and the validity of their drivers were not recorded.

Consumers, however, have complained that Malaysia’s taxi services have a bad reputation and agreed that service was more important than price.

Liow said it was not simply because taxi drivers refused to change, as they were also quite technologically-savvy nowadays, using smartphone applications such as MyTeksi.

“But taxis are regulated, and you can’t have two kinds of policy for the same industry.

“SPAD should listen to the taxi drivers’ complaints and hear their grievances, why they are not happy with Uber,” he told reporters after officiating the Nationwide Road Safety and Driver’s Training Programme.

The programme is by Pertubuhan Perintis Malaysia (MyPerintis), in collaboration with Proton, Road Safety Department (JKJR) and police.

The programme aims to educate youths on road safety in a bid to reduce accidents and fatalities due to road mishaps, as 80% of traffic accidents and deaths were caused by human error.

Under the programme, youths will be exposed to a 100-minute course separated into three sections namely “Knowing Your Vehicle Better” by Proton, “Driver’s Behaviour” by JKJR and “Law and Enforcement” by the police.

Liow expressed concern that road safety campaigns had been launched for a long time, but death rates continued to increase.

“We have to strengthen the campaigns by using social media and get youngsters involved.”

He added that this year onwards, the ministry had set a policy that all new cars must have child seat anchorages installed.

In future, it will also be made compulsory for parents to instal child seats in the car.

Liow also said the majority of road accident deaths involved motorcyclists.

“Out of 820 road accident deaths recorded in Selangor up to September this year, 508 were motorcyclists and 49 motorcycle (pillion) riders,” he said.

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