Nancy: No quid pro quo with Uber

  • Nation
  • Friday, 22 Sep 2017

PETALING JAYA: There have not been any wrongdoings involving ride-hailing service Uber amid corruption allegations, said Datuk Nancy Shukri (pic).

"There has not been any quid pro quo arrangement that affected decision-making in relation to the regulation of the ride-hailing business here," the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department told The Star.

Nancy's remarks echoed a similar statement by the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), which also denied involvement in any alleged deals involving Uber and the government to swiftly pass e-hailing laws in Malaysia.

"We strongly refute our involvement in any quid pro quo arrangements," its spokesman said in a statement on Thursday.

According to Bloomberg, the United States Department of Justice is currently investigating Uber to determine whether it broke laws regarding overseas bribery.

The report said that as a result, Uber's law firm was investigating the corporate donation worth "tens of thousands of dollars" that Uber made in August 2016 to MaGIC.

In that same period, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP), the nation's second-largest pension fund, had also made a USD$30mil (RM125.95mil) investment in Uber.

However, KWAP clarified that its investments in Uber Technologies Inc were by the book and made after "thorough investment evaluation and assessments".

"We would like to reiterate our commitment to our mandate in delivering continued progress to pensioners and civil servants to ensure a sustainable growth in fund size and ultimately boosting the fund performance," it said in a statement on Thursday.

Hence, Uber's lawyers were trying to determine if there was any form of quid pro quo between Uber and the Government as the Land Public Transport (Amendment) Bill 2017, which legalised e-hailing services, were passed in July.

Bloomberg's report drew criticism from Opposition leaders, with DAP's Liew Chin Tong calling for Nancy and Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah to explain the issue.

Nancy subsequently dismissed Liew's remarks, pointing out that the Kluang MP had never raised the issue during the previous parliamentary session in July despite claiming to have done so.

"Liew claimed that he had asked me to provide details regarding the alleged investments in Uber during the parliamentary debate on the amendments to the Land Public Transport Commission Act (SPAD) 2010 last July. He also claimed that I had not given him any reply.

"After looking through the Hansard of the Parliament, I am certain that he never raised the question during his debate," she added.

Nancy, who oversees SPAD, pointed out that the government had always been consistent in its initiatives to transform the local taxi industry since 2012.

Nancy also said that local taxi companies recognised the value of ride-hailing services, as there are four taxi companies which launched similar apps recently, such as "2GO", "eevom", "EzCab" and "PICKnGO".

"All these serve to demonstrate that ride-hailing services has gained widespread acceptance, here and elsewhere, for their invaluable role in matching supply and demand in real time, among others."

Uber Malaysia has declined to comment on the issue.

Uber, which head office is based in the United States, reported a loss of US$708mil (RM2.97bil) in the first quarter of 2017.


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