The taxi industry is being threatened by ride-sharing services that include Uber and GrabCar. According to Malaysian Association of Travel and Tours Agents (MATTA) chauffeur-driven transport are also facing a downturn. The president of MATTA Datuk Hamzah Rahmat has stated that Uber and GrabCar have mopped up between 30% and 40% of business coming from tourist transport operations. The monthly sales of a reputable chauffeur-driven transport services went down from RM500, 000 to RM300, 000. Providers of chauffeur-driven transport used to generate more than RM100 million a year.
Hamzah has urged the government of Malaysia to create an even playing field for all transport operators so that they can be competitive with Uber and GrabCar. The app-based transport services make use of privately-owned vehicles while tour operators suffer from high cost of operations. They have to pay for licenses, permits and insurance and vehicle inspection every 6 months.
The MATTA chief has criticized Tan Sri Wahid Omar, a former minister of the Prime Minister’s Department for endorsing Uber. An article that has gone viral on social media reports that Wahid will become a Uber driver after his term. As a former parliamentarian who is involved in making laws, Wahid should have known better.
Uber and GrabCar have severely affected licensed transport and tour operators that is why MATTA vice president Jayakumar has urged the government authorities to seize private vehicles that are being used as transportation for fare-paying passengers. According to Jayakumar the Road Transport Department has acted against private car owners who were operating as taxi services or better known as teksi sapu. If the lack of enforcement against ride-hailing transport services continues, whatever existing problems for the transport sector will worsen until something is done.