TAXI drivers in Malaysia are threatening to halt services for six consecutive days should the government proceed with plans to legalize ride-sharing firms like Uber and GrabCar.
According to local media, the Malaysian Taxi Drivers’ Transformation Association (PERS1M) warned of the strike last weekend, days after the government gave local public transport regulators the green light to regulate ride-sharing.
The reports did not specify a date for the proposed strike, with PERS1M president Kamaruddin Mohd Hussain saying this has not been determined as yet.
Enraged taxi drivers in the nation’s capital of Kuala Lumpur have in the past organized numerous protests demanding that the government outlaw Uber and other ride-sharing applications, claiming they were stealing customers and operating illegally without permits.
“I don’t understand what is the purpose of legalizing these ride-sharing applications when there are already enough taxis in the country. What is SPAD’s motive?” said Kamaruddin in an interview with Malay Mail Online.
“Should they not look at the welfare of taxi drivers first?”
SPAD is the Malay acronym for the Land Public Transport Commission, a regulatory body that oversees the country’s public transportation issues.
Yesterday, the commission warned taxi drivers against going ahead with the strike, saying those who obstruct traffic would face suspension.
“Our advice is for them to reconsider such moves as they will result in traffic obstruction and inconvenience the public. Hence, PDRM and SPAD will take necessary actions against drivers who obstruct traffic.
“If proven guilty, we will suspend (their) driver’s card,” SPAD’s corporate communications head Radha Warrier was quoted as saying in Malay Mail Online.
Previous protests by taxi drivers had caused traffic to come to a standstill in the capital’s already congested streets.
In the March protest, PERS1M’s Kamaruddin was held by the police, along with several other drivers, according to The Star.
Another strike the following month – this time against a RM1 ride promotion by GrabCar – again caused a gridlock in the city when the drivers left their vehicles parked along busy roads.