Wee: We’ll look into e-hailing sector issues

PETALING JAYA: A study into the challenges faced by the e-hailing sector will be undertaken by the Transport Ministry.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) said he met with the top management of e-hailing operator MyCar to discuss issues faced by the sector.

“I listened to a briefing by the management of MyCar, a company in the e-hailing industry, which provides an e-commerce platform, as well as online food and item delivery service, ” he said in a Facebook post on Friday.

Dr Wee said he met the company’s founder Mohd Noah Maideen, general manager Khairubi Mahmad and business development head Shamsul Kamal earlier that day.

“A few issues were raised in this meeting, including the challenges faced by the e-hailing sector in this difficult time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and other problems faced by e-hailing drivers.

“I have instructed the Land Public Transport Agency (Apad), an agency under the Transport Ministry, to conduct a study and prepare a detailed report so that effective measures can be implemented immediately.

“This is to ensure this sector can develop well, seeing that it is one of those that can grow rapidly, provide job opportunities and contribute positively to the country’s economy, ” he said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of e-hailing drivers are crying foul after realising they are not eligible for the RM500 government aid, through no fault of theirs.

On April 14, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz announced that some 90,000 full-time e-hailing drivers would get a RM500 aid under the economic stimulus package beginning April 20.

However, many drivers, upon checking with their e-hailing companies, found that their e-hailing vehicle permit (EVP) are still pending despite having submitted their details months ago.

A driver who only wants to be known as Jang, from Subang, said he sent his details to Grab last August, and was still waiting.

Without a valid EVP, Jang noted, he could not receive the aid.

Another driver who only wanted to be known as Azizul, 46, also faced a similar problem after submitting his details last October.

He only received his EVP in February, and is also ineligible for the aid.

“This is a letdown because my income has been badly affected, ” Azizul said, adding that there was no way to check eligibility online.

To qualify for the one-off RM500 aid, drivers must be Malaysians in possession of a valid Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence and their vehicles must have EVP that was approved by Jan 31,2020, or earlier.

The drivers’ monthly gross income must be at least RM1,200 based on the average takings of November and December 2019 and January 2020.

Malaysia E-Hailing Drivers Association president Daryl Chong, who received 350 similar complaints so far, suspected that e-hailing companies could have overlooked some details when submitting the drivers’ applications.

“They may have taken time to update drivers’ details into Apad’s system and were caught off-guard by the Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s decision to give aid to drivers, ” he said.

Chong said almost all the affected drivers’ EVP status was “pending approval” or “pending verification” between last August and December.

He argued that the cash aid should be extended to all e-hailing drivers with a valid PSV because they went through the same hardship and paid the same amount to comply.

MyCar head of government affairs Shafiq Affendi said all e-hailing drivers with PSV should receive the aid, and noted there were teething issues in Apad’s system.

A group of MyCar drivers who met all the requirements for the aid was told that their EVP records were not found, he said.

Apad director-general Azlan Shah Parames Albakri said EVP approval was issued within five working days after an application was received.

When contacted, Grab said it was aware of the issue and was working with Apad to resolve the matter.

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