Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has refuted news reports by several mainstream media portals alleging that he had promised voters in Langkawi that Pakatan Harapan will abolish ride hailing service Grab if it wins this coming General Election.
Earlier today, Sinar Harian published a report with a headline ‘Mahathir Akan Hapuskan Grab, Jika PH Menang.’
Sinar Harian’s original report (which has since been amended) reads:
‘Mahathir turut berjanji menghapuskan aplikasi e-hailing bagi membela nasib pemandu teksi dan kereta sewa.
“Masalah Grab ini bukan hanya Langkawi tapi seluruh Malaysia.
“Grab merugikan pemandu teksi biasa, perkara ini akan dikaji supaya servis teksi yang adil kepada semua pihak, ini akan kita lakukan apabila kita ambil alih kerajaan nanti,” ujarnya.’
The news was soon picked up by New Straits Times (NST) and The Star, which quoted Sinar Harian as the source of the news.
Sinar Harian then followed up its story with a response from Prime Minister Najib, with the title ‘e-hailing: Najib dakwa Mahathir enggan sesuai diri.’
Both NST and The Star have since taken down their original report.
Following the allegations, Tun Dr. Mahathir’s office has released a video recording of Tun Dr. Mahathir’s speech, which merely called for a review of the system to correct certain discrepancies/inequalities in the requirements for Grab and taxi service operators.
Video jawapan Dr Mahathir Mohamad mengenai perkhidmatan Grab baru baru ini di Langkawi dalam satu dialog dengan pengusaha perlancongan Langkawi.— Dr Mahathir Mohamad (@chedetofficial) April 30, 2018
- Admin- pic.twitter.com/pHNArzemcQ
Having said that, we need to point out that not everything that was said by Tun Dr. Mahathir in his speech was correct. Grab does have very strict rules in its selection of vehicles and drivers, which explains why Grab vehicles are generally cleaner and more comfortable than regular budget taxis. At the same time, Grab cannot and should not be allowed to replace taxi services, especially when it no longer has Uber as its competitor.
Meanwhile, Grab must be quite pleased with all the free publicity that it is getting. So we might as well just go all the way. If you don’t already know, Grab is currently running a #DESTINASI14 social media campaign to encourage voters to get out and vote.