No monopoly for Go-Jek

KUALA LUMPUR: Two ministers have given their assurance that an Indonesian startup called Go-Jek will not be allowed to monopolise the industry should Malaysia allow motorcycle-based e-hailing services.

The Cabinet is expected to discuss motorcycle e-hailing today after Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman broached the subject of Go-Jek’s entry into the country, which then led to criticism that he was aiding the expansion of a foreign company rather than supporting homegrown startup’s such as Dego Ride, which was banned by the government in 2017.

“This is not just for Go-Jek. We forget that we have one of the most talented Malaysians who ran Dego Ride in Johor, which employed thousands of motorists.

“The motorists enjoyed it, they were paid decently and Dego Ride was a good alternative medium of transportation.

“Unfortunately when the previous government clamped down on it the business went off, ” Syed Saddiq said after attending the first sitting of the 32nd National Youth Consultative Council here yesterday.

Dego Ride was the first company to launch a motorcycle taxi service in Malaysia in late 2016, but was soon declared illegal by the then Transport Ministry in January 2017 on the grounds of safety.

On Monday, Syed Saddiq invited Transport Minister Anthony Loke to be present when he brought Go-Jek founder Nadiem Makarim to meet with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Clarifying the meeting, Syed Saddiq said although Dego Ride was not present, the discussion was to open up a new industry where everyone could compete fairly and equitably.

“The difference (between Go-Jek and Dego Ride) is we want to get more investments in. The point is this will be implemented fairly for all.

“We cannot have a ride hailing monopoly, we need to open up the market, allow competition and ensure all digital entrepreneurs benefit, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Loke said the proposal by Go-jek was only at the conceptual stage, which still requires Cabinet approval before a proper study can be carried out.

“His (Syed Saddiq) views will be considered but we will have to look at the proposal more seriously, ” Loke said at a press conference after taking a ride on a refurbished KL Monorail car set at Bukit Nanas yesterday.

“If we ever allow it (ride hailing for motorcycles) in future, we won’t allow a monopoly by a (single) company, ” he said.

While acknowledging that Syed Saddiq was looking at the proposal from the view point of providing gainful employment for youths, Loke said his ministry was more concerned with safety and operational matters.

In September 2018, Loke maintained that motorcycle taxi services will never be legalised due to high motorcycle accident rates.

Go-Jek is a logistics company based in Jakarta, Indonesia, where consumers can order their services through an app from a smartphone, like how people order rides from car-based e-hailing operators.

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