Speaking to the daily, SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the current market does not require a new entrant, especially in the Klang Valley, Johor Bahru, and Penang – places where Uber operates in Malaysia.
“They (Uber) are trying to replace the legitimate taxis. Our market size is not big enough. Uber is a matchmaker and it utilises all kinds of cars including private vehicles. Uber is offering the kind of services that we cannot legalise,” he said.
Syed Hamid added that there's nothing wrong with a mobile app offering a ride service, “as long as it facilitates vehicles with a valid permit and the driver has a valid licence”.
Taxi drivers in the country are unhappy with Uber’s business concept that does not fit into the country’s public transport landscape and regulations.
SPAD enforcement head Datuk Paduka Che Hasni Che Ahmad pointed out that Uber does not operate as a public transport firm, instead hiring a local firm to source cars from car rental or leasing firms who also supply the drivers. This makes Uber merely a ‘matchmaker’ by offering chauffeuring services via the app.
He added that Uber’s insistence on cashless transactions, opting for credit card payment for passengers does not benefit the country as the fare collected goes out of the country.
When asked what it would take for Uber to be legalised in Malaysia, Syed Hamid said, “Perhaps, they (Uber) can buy a taxi company here and operate as a legal transport company.”