TAXI drivers here fear that in future there will be no more cabs on the road following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s announcement that the Government will encourage the B40 group’s participation as Uber or GrabCar drivers.
The group said that while they welcomed the announcement that a RM5,000 grant would be given for 12,000 qualified taxi drivers to buy new vehicles and receive individual taxi permits, they felt that the amount was insufficient.
Federation of Penang Taxi Association president Abdul Malek Darus said that even though taxi drivers were given the grant, the announcement by Najib on new ride-sharing drivers who do not own a vehicle but could make a down payment to get a Proton Iriz using the BR1M and a RM4,000 rebate, would still affect their livelihood.
“Most of the taxi drivers do not have their own vehicles and have to rent the cabs.
“This announcement may result in taxi drivers to eventually stop operating and giving up this occupation,” he said yesterday.
Taxi driver R. Ravichandran, 51, a father of three, said cabbies were going to suffer.
“We are already struggling as the public prefer to use Uber or GrabCar.
“We used to earn between RM150 and RM200 daily, but these days, even earning RM50 or RM60 is difficult,” said Ravichandran, who has been a taxi driver for the past 22 years.
Najib announced in Budget 2017 that the B40 (bottom 40% of households) could earn an income of up to RM1,500 per month if they become part-time drivers working between 10 to 40 hours per week, and earn RM4,300 if they do more than 40 hours per week.
Meanwhile, graduate Felicia Wong, 22, lauded the incentives that will be given to those who repay their PTPTN loans.
The Government announced that incentives that will be given include 15% discount on the outstanding debt for full settlement, 10% discount for payment of at least 50% of debt made in single payment, and 10% discount for repayment through salary deduction or direct debit in accordance with the repayment schedule.
The incentives take effect today until Dec 2017.
Wong said the discounts would help reduce her financial burden as a fresh graduate who is just starting out in the working world.
“I am motivated to pay back my PTPTN loan in a lump sum,” she added.
Working mother Sandy Goh welcomed the suggestion of tax relief of up to RM1,000 for her four-year-old daughter’s kindergarten education.
“I pay RM400 per month for her kindergarten fee currently. Although the RM1,000 tax relief is not much, it could help ease my family’s financial burden as the cost of living is getting higher and higher,” said the 40-year-old clerk.
In a press statement, Penang Federal Action Council chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman said despite Malaysia facing economic uncertainty, the leaders of our country have managed the country well.
“The Budget 2017 was comprehensive and inclusive.
“I express my thanks to the Prime Minister for allocating a budget to set up an urban transformation centre (UTC) in Penang, equipped with a job centre.
“The UTC will assist Penangites in their dealings with the Federal Government agencies and departments,” he said.
He also thanked Najib for allocating a budget to upgrade hospital facilities in the Penang Hospital.