KUALA LUMPUR: A taxi group warned that it would sack any of its members found participating in an anti-ridesharing protest on Wednesday.
Malaysian Taxi Drivers, Limousine & Car Rental Operators Association (Petekma) president Mohd Syahrir Abdul Aziz said members might also face disciplinary action.
"If a Petekma member is found to be at an illegal gathering, disciplinary action will be taken including sacking that person," he told reporters at the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) office here Tuesday.
Many taxi drivers are expected to group up in the city Wednesday to protest against SPAD over supposed inaction against ride-sharing apps like Uber and GrabCar.
Led by the Klang Valley Taxi Drivers Action Committee, they said that this competition had made them lose large amounts of income in recent months.
Some 6,000 drivers are expected to show up at the protest, organisers said.
Petekma claims to have some 9,000 members in the Klang Valley alone.
While SPAD has seized more than 140 ride-sharing cars over the past year, it has implied regulating these services, as opposed to going for a total ban.
Petekma was among a few taxi groups that would not be standing beside their comrades even if they agreed with their objectives.
Bumiputera Taxi Operator Association president Datuk Mohd Alias Abdul said he wanted to see the industry change for the better, and this protest was not going to help.
"If they do something that will make things difficult ... we will not be together with this group," he said.
He added that the protest which would coincide with the opening of the 27th Asean Summit would give taxis here a bad name.
Previously, KL City Hall said it did not give protest leaders approval to gather in the city, with the mayor hinting that action would follow if they went ahead.
Protest leader Kamarudin Mohd Hussain said the group would gather at the Padang Merbok field from 10am to 5pm Wednesday.
He said they were only going to gather at the field, and not block nearby roads.
He, however, said there were rumours that some groups might not gather at the field.
"It's possible, but it won't be from us. (There will be) provocation. Our side won't do that," Kamarudin said.
He added that drivers might gather along Jalan Conlay and at the National Mosque, but these were only "checkpoints" for them to head on to Padang Merbok.
He also said that if the field was closed, cabbies would head to the Titiwangsa Lake Gardens, pick a final spot to gather, and then stay there until midnight.
When asked about Mohd Syahrir's threat to sack Petekma members, Kamarudin said: "Let him say what he wants."
SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar told The Star that the commission could take action against these drivers if they breached taxi licence conditions.
He did not say what kind of actions these might be.
When contacted, Uber (Malaysia) general manager Leon Foong said: "We hope all parties can come together to achieve a common goal of improving the range of transportation options available to the people of Malaysia."
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