Despite the rising tension between Malaysia’s taxi companies and Uber, the app-based ride-hailing app company is aiming to add 100, 000 new drivers this year.

In a report by The Star Online, Uber (Malaysia) general manager Leon Foong said this would help many to increase their incomes and decrease their reliance on their own cars in the face of a challenging economy.

Uber Malaysia
Source: The Star Online

60,000 people had been activated as Uber driver partners so far, though not all of the are active.

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When contacted by The Star Online, Foong said:

These part-time opportunities just make a lot of sense in terms of increasing incomes while serving people who need rides.

We plan to create 100,000 new flexible economic opportunities in Malaysia to meet the economic challenges that Malaysians face,” he said. “There are 7 million people living in the Klang Valley, so we’re just getting started,” he added.

Foong also said that the company planned to launch new products this year to “maximise time and seat efficiency”.

Person using the Uber app

Uber was first introduced in Malaysia 2 years ago, but many taxi drivers protested against the service as they claimed that it severely affected their livelihood. This is also because ride-sharing services usually offer lower rates than taxis.

Its legality was also questioned by governments and taxi companies as the company does not pay taxes or licensing fees. Those who oppose Uber also argued that its drivers are unlicensed and may endanger passengers.

However, a Land and Public Transport Commission (SPAD) survey showed that 76.4% of 9,026 respondents preferred Uber and GrabCar over regular taxis in the country.

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Source: Mises Institue
Source: Mises Institute

In order to “prevent” the government’s alleged plans to legalise Uber and GrabCar services, the Klang Valley Taxi Drivers Action Committee filed an application for a court injunction last month at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

Its chairman Zailani Isa Usuluddin explained that his members suffered a 60% drop in business ever since Uber and GrabCar were introduced. He warned that regular taxi drivers may eventually be driven out of business if the government fails to intervene.

Source: The Malaysian Insider
Source: The Malaysian Insider

According to Malaysian Taxi Drivers Transformation Association (Pers1m) deputy chairman Kamarudin Mohd Husain, the committee will file “5 or 6 more in stages”. He said that it wouldn’t be just about Uber and GrabCar, but also about various problems in the taxi industry.

He added that the committee may stage a strike or even block Kuala Lumpur’s streets if the government legalise Uber and GrabCar. Though the government had given SPAD a mandate to improve the taxi industry, they felt that the commission was not doing its job well enough. “From strikes to the court, we have only one purpose, to embrace the Government’s call (for taxis),” he explained.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Application Taxi Drivers Association secretary Apriman Darlis also said that it was taxi drivers’ top agenda to fight against ride-sharing services.

He said:

We want to clear all these taxi problems. We’re asking SPAD to settle Uber and GrabCar.

SPAD officials could not be reached for comment.

Source: The Star Online via Free Malaysia Today.

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