SERDANG: More than 67,000 taxi drivers nationwide will receive the 1Malaysia Taxi Aid Card (Kad Bantuan Teksi 1Malaysia).
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced on Friday that RM53.6 mil has been allocated for the programme.
Najib said that the introduction of the card was part of the Government's commitment to taxi drivers in the country.
"I realise that taxi drivers have been facing challenges as e-hailing grows in our country, although it is a service that the public wants.
"The Government wants to do something to ensure that taxi drivers' welfare is looked after," he said in his speech at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (Maeps) here.
He said that the card contains a pre-loaded value of RM800 and it can be used for the purchase of petrol or natural gas at Petronas stations nationwide.
Taxi drivers with the card will also receive a personal accident insurance coverage of up tp RM50,000 from Mesra-AXESS, subject to terms and conditions, he said.
As part of the Goverment's concern for the welfare of taxi drivers, he said that taxi drivers who were eligible for the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) will also receive automatic approval for the aid from now on.
On another matter, Najib said that the Land Public Transport (Amendment) Bill 2017 has been gazetted on April 6.
He said that while the Government encourages competition, it must be both healthy and fair.
This is why e-hailing drivers (who use apps like Grab) will fall under the same regulations as taxi drivers now that the Bill has been gazetted, he said.
Among the regulations required for e-hailing drivers will be background checks, health checks, and periodic vehicle checks, he added.
"As the Cabinet has approved this, I have instructed enforcement to be carried out on the same day it was enforced so that there is fairness for all," he said.