SERDANG: A single mother of two was allegedly raped on her way home in a car she hired through the e-hailing app Grab.
Serdang OCPD Asst Comm Megat Mohamad Aminudin Megat Alias said the 29-year-old was allegedly raped near her home in Bandar Putra Permai in Seri Kembangan, Selangor, at around 4am on Sunday.
“She claimed that the driver had sexually assaulted her but she could not fight him off because she was drunk. He later drove her home,” he said.
It is learnt that the woman was heading home after an outing in Petaling Jaya.
ACP Megat Mohamad Aminudin said following a report lodged by the woman, a 30-year-old man was picked up from his home in Sungai Buloh at around 10pm that day.
Police also seized his car and the clothes he wore during the alleged incident for analysis.
The suspect is believed to have been a driver for the e-hailing service operator for less than three months and has no criminal record.
He has been remanded for six days and the case is being investigated under Section 376 of the Penal Code for rape.
When contacted, Grab said the company is deeply distressed by the news and has made a commitment to cooperate with the police and relevant authorities as well as provide support for the passenger and her family.
“We have a zero tolerance policy on any crime and serious misconduct by drivers,” said Grab Malaysia country head Sean Goh, adding that the driver has been removed from the platform pending police investigation.
He said Grab will also be expediting its plans to implement a “panic button” which will allow passengers to alert police during emergencies.
Currently, a PDRM “panic button” feature is only available for drivers.
The company said it also has a rigorous screening process and conducts criminal background checks on its drivers.
“We are committed to investing in driver screenings and training and other safety initiatives,” he said.
There has been a spate of cases involving drivers attached with e-hailing service providers in the past month.
About three weeks ago, a 26-year-old pregnant woman was allegedly robbed at knife-point by an Uber driver and his accomplice before she was left stranded by the roadside in Puchong, Selangor.
Recently in George Town, a 42-year-old Vietnamese woman claimed that she was sexually assaul-ted when an Uber driver molested her and forced her to hold his genitals. This later led to the driver being beaten up by a group of people.
These incidents have led the Land Public Transport Commission to instruct all e-hailing service operators to include a panic button on their apps to maximise passenger safety.
Amendments to the Land Public Transport Act 2010 are also expected in Parliament next month with new measures to regulate e-hailing services, including impounding cars used for any unsavoury activities, psychometric tests for would-be drivers and financial penalties for failing to meet service and safety standards.