PETALING JAYA: Disabled (OKU) drivers will be able to apply for Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licences from May this year, says Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
Loke said that this was done so that OKU drivers with e-hailing companies can continue working, after the ruling that all e-hailing drivers must possess a PSV licence comes into effect on July 12.
"Existing regulations do not allow OKU drivers to apply for a PSV licence, but as a Minister, I am prepared to look at it.
"I feel that if OKU can be independent as drivers and earn a living for themselves, why should we stop that?
"If the regulations do not allow it, then we change the regulations," he said in his speech during the launch of Grab Malaysia's new facial recognition technology feature launch at its headquarters here today (April 11).
He said that Malaysian laws and regulations needed to be progressive and cater to all Malaysians.
OKU drivers, he said, have been active in the e-hailing community for a few years and without changing the existing regulations, they will have to stop driving after the ruling was enforced.
"We are talking about 300 to 400 OKU drivers and they will be given priority in terms of going for PSV courses and so on (once the regulations have been amended), so that come July 12, they can continue to drive," he added.
On the complaint by some e-hailing operators and drivers that applying for the PSV licence was inconvenient for part-time drivers, Loke said he hoped everyone will cooperate with the ruling as it will help create a level playing field for e-hailing and taxi drivers in the country.
"In terms of (comments) that it's cumbersome or troublesome - we are looking at the long-term picture.
"From a regime where you are unregulated to a regime where you are regulated, of course there is some work to be done.
"But the long-term benefit is that the whole industry will be legalised and regulated, so you have a more secure environment to work in.
"We don't want this whole industry to be continuously in dispute with traditional taxi drivers," he said, adding that the Ministry will not extend the July 12 deadline.