Malaysia’s ride-hailing drivers threaten to sue the country’s Ministry of Transport and the minister Loke

Malaysian drivers are frustrated at the frequent changes to regulatory policies.

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A group of ride-hailing drivers in Malaysia are threatening to sue the country’s Ministry of Transport, as well as the minister of the department, Anthony Loke, for the ministry’s alleged failure to protect the welfare of drivers, local news outlet Malay Mail reported.

Approximately 50 ride-hailing chauffeurs staged a peaceful protest at the ministry yesterday to express their frustration. The suggested changes to the regulatory policies make it difficult for drivers to register and provide their service to the ride-hailing operators, the protestants said.

The spokesperson for the Campaign to Protect the Rights of E-hailing Drivers in Malaysia, Kian Nam Ng said they have sent three official letters to Loke prior to the protest but did not receive any response.

One of the main sources of anger is the confusion caused by frequent reversals on policies that often resulted in a waste of resources and time on the drivers’ end.

The Ministry of Transportation and the Road Transport Department (JPJ) jointly lifted the regulation that required ride-hailing drivers to convert their vehicle category from individual private vehicles to e-hailing private vehicles (AH). However, on October 4, the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) and Road Transport Department (JPJ) imposed this rule again.

Ng described this change as a “U-turn decision” and said that the government’s frequent “flip-flopping” failed to take into consideration the drivers’ welfare and input.

The campaign demanded the ministry to withdraw the ruling before the next deadline set to comply with the new regulations, October 12. From that day, vehicles used for e-hailing services are required to have public service vehicle (PSV) license, passenger insurance, e-hailing sticker and an e-hailing vehicle permit (EVP) from APAD.

The deadline was initially set to July 12, but the Cabinet later granted a three-month extension for drivers to meet the industry requirements. During a media conference held in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, JPJ’s enforcing director Khairul Anwar Bachok said the department will not “give face” to the drivers and will adhere strictly to the new deadline.

The Ministry of Transport has yet to respond to the drivers’ protests and demands.