PETALING JAYA: Stress due to lower income amid rising cost of living are said to be reasons why riders in Malaysia may be planning to not perform any deliveries tomorrow (Aug 5).
Abdul Hakim Abdul Rani, the vice-president of Malaysian P-Hailing Riders’ Association (Persatuan Penghantar P-Hailing Malaysia), said riders are feeling the pressure to complete more deliveries per day just to meet their income target.
"First of all, we would like to clarify that we are not the ones who initiated the protest. But we support this effort because we understand what the riders are going through," he said when contacted.
Abdul Hakim explained that riders are paid a flat rate per delivery and may earn incentives depending on the time and distance of the order placed. However, he claimed riders that are not compensated fairly for deliveries that may take a longer time to complete.
"The protest is a way of giving these companies some awareness about how the riders are feeling in their current situation as they cope with rising cost of living. They feel that they are earning less despite performing more deliveries," he said.
He added that his NGO has proposed to introduce a standard rate of RM5 for the first 5km per delivery and 80sen should be applied for each subsequent kilometre.
The one-day strike has become the talk of riders on various Facebook groups with hashtags #OffSatuHari, #24hournoshift and #naikkanfare being associated with the event.
Fazal Kamarudin, the founder of Ehailing.fm which is an online radio dedicated to sharing information about the gig economy, said that riders have the right to protest and express their concerns.
"We have to understand that riders are facing various challenges such as having limited amount of time to complete some deliveries. If they don't perform the delivery on time, they will see their ratings drop and could affect future earnings. What they are asking for is fair wages to compensate for their time and effort on the road," he said.
However, he added that riders should also know the consequences of joining such protests and how it could affect their livelihoods.
"I estimate that maybe 40% of riders will join the protest but the rest with families may carry on as usual because they need to earn their daily wages. I have heard of how riders start the day with zero and end the day with RM50. For some, that is enough money to feed a small family," he said, adding that government intervention to introduce guidelines on standard rate for delivery may be needed.
Foodpanda has sent out an email to its partners on rider availability for Aug 5, stating that it is "actively working on mitigating the situation as effectively as possible". It claimed that majority of riders are responding well to their initiatives and taking up shifts.
As of press time, Grab has not commented directly on the issue beyond sharing a statement that was given to rider-partners to clarify a misunderstanding regarding its minimum fare rate on July 21.
It explained that the minimum fare rate is unchanged and has not gone down to RM3 as stated in a screenshot that went viral. It said the mistake in the calculated fare rate was due to a technical issue.