200 cab drivers stage protest to highlight their plight to Government


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 30 Jun 2016

Fighting for their livelihood: Taxi drivers protesting against Uber and Grabcar outside the Penang City Hall at the Esplanade.

GEORGE TOWN: Some 200 cabbies gathered at the Esplanade here for a four-hour strike-cum-protest as a final plea to the Federal Government against the legalising of Uber and GrabCar e-hailing services in the state.

Penang Taxi Associate Associa-tion secretary Mohamad Shahimi Hadzri appealed to the Prime Minister to do something or the taxi industry would collapse.

“We ask that the Government take our plight into consideration.

“Our income has gone down 70% since Uber and GrabCar started operating in Penang. The Government needs to remember that we are also voters here in Penang.

“Taxi drivers used to earn over RM200 a day but now, we barely earn RM50 a day. How can we survive like this?” he said yesterday.

Mohamad Shahimi added that if Sabah could ban Uber and GrabCar, Penang should follow suit.

“We will also be filing a police report similar to the one filed by the Kuala Lumpur Taxi Associa-tion against Uber and GrabCar as well as another police report against former minister Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar for his stint as an Uber driver.”

P. Gunasegaran, 40, a taxi driver of 14 years, said he was struggling to survive.

“Before both these services came along, I used to earn RM250 a day and now, there are days when we don’t even earn anything.

“Some taxi drivers have to pay rental for their vehicles on top of fuel.

“On average, car rental and fuel will cost up to RM110 a day,” he said.

Meanwhile, S. Valayutham, 42, who owns a radio call taxi company, said the use of Uber would create more social problems.

He claimed that Uber drivers with their big expensive cars were not doing it for the money but only to meet women.

The protest by the group at the Esplanade lasted from 10am to noon, following which they formed a convoy of taxis and drove from the Esplanade to Komtar, the Penang International Airport, Eastin Hotel and to the Sungai Nibong bus terminal.

Cars were heard honking in a show of support for the protest as the convoy passed by.

There are about 1,500 taxi drivers in Penang.

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