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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Govt agencies to vet drivers

Thorough checks: The authorities will vet potential e-hailing drivers following a number of public complaints against them.

Thorough checks: The authorities will vet potential e-hailing drivers following a number of public complaints against them.

PETALING JAYA: The vetting of e-hailing drivers will be taken out of the hands of e-hailing operators such as Uber and Grab, said the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).

Instead, government agencies like the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and police will conduct the screening, said SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar as he affirmed the growing importance of e-hailing services which are also seeing a growing number of complaints against errant drivers.

He was responding to the incident involving a 26-year-old woman who suffered a miscarriage a week after being robbed at knifepoint by an Uber driver and his accomplice while using the service to return to her home in Puchong on May 21.

“It is of utmost urgency as there have been various incidents and we are getting more and more reports. We are very concerned and want the laws to be passed in Parliament as soon as possible,” he told The Star when contacted yesterday.

Uber and Grab insisted that they have their own systems to screen potential drivers.

“They told us that they have a good screening system in place with background checks done with the police and JPJ.

“Obviously, this has not been followed accordingly,” Syed Hamid said, adding that he was “very upset” over the robbery incident.

Under the proposed amendments to the Land Transport Act 2010 and the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987, he said SPAD would be able to ask Uber and Grab for the database of their drivers.

“We will then cross-check the drivers’ backgrounds with the police and JPJ before they are given their drivers’ badges. There may be some delay in the process due to bureaucracy, but it must be done to ensure passenger safety,” he said.

The proposed Bills were tabled for first reading in Parliament in March, and will be followed up with in the coming July sitting.

Syed Hamid also confirmed that the Uber official in charge of operations in Malaysia met with SPAD yesterday.

When contacted, JPJ director-general Datuk Seri Nadzri Siron said e-hailing operators did not approach JPJ for help in vetting applicants.

“They have their own procedures for screening their drivers,” he said.

Tags / Keywords: Transport Safety , Uber , Grab , Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar , screening , drivers , SPAD

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