Malaysia’s transport ministry announced on Wednesday of its plans to implement taxi-like regulations for ride-hailing services and is also reviewing the merger of Grab and Uber Technologies in Malaysia.
Last week, Kr-Asia reported that the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) was exploring the implementation of a number of possible measures, including the lifting of exclusivity agreements between Grab and the various players in the market, following findings that the Grab-Uber merger had reduced competition in the sector.
Singapore’s regulators found Grab had raised prices following the merger, while Malaysia’s transport ministry disclosed that it had received a number of complaints about hiked fares following the merger.
” Malaysia’s ride-hailing market will be regulated from Thursday (July 12), ” said Anthony Loke, Malaysia’s transport minister, in a press statement, adding that that Malaysia’s e-hailing drivers will be subject to the same regulations as taxi drivers. This will see them require health check-ups, car inspections and permits in order to be licensed as a private driver. Malaysia’s ride-hailing drivers are given a one-year term to meet these new requirements.
Similar to Singapore’s investigation over possible violations of competitions laws, Datuk Seri Nancy, the Minister in Malaysia’s Prime Minister’s Department stated: ”SPAD and MYCC will have to look into things to see if there is violation of the Competition Act here”, despite Grab’s assurance to her that fare structures will remain unaffected, prior to its takeover off Uber’s Malaysia operations.
Grab acquires Uber’s Southeast Asia operations, including its food delivery Uber Eats. This transaction saw Uber acquire a 27.5% stake in Grab. While the technology firm has emerged as a dominant player in Southeast Asia, this has led to competition regulators reviewing the deal as new players enter the market.
As in China, Didi’s rise to dominance after Uber’s exit was short-lived; Chinese O2O platform Meituan and online travel platform Ctrip entered the ride-hailing service sector this year. Grab’s market share is being eroded by the entry of competitors such as Indonesia-based Go-Jek, Ryde, Kardi and Jugnoo.
It is likely that with the new regulatory measures being implemented, Southeast Asia’s consumers will enjoy better pricing.