KUALA LUMPUR: More than 100 taxi drivers protested outside the Ministry of Finance in Putrajaya on Wednesday (Oct 17) after it was reported that the government may work with ride-hailing firm Grab to provide transport services at MRT stations.
The finance minister's political secretary Tony Pua had suggested that Grab could replace feeder bus services to train stations.
“Why would you provide feeder buses if you can work with Grab? They can actually arrive and give door-to-door delivery from the MRT to commuters’ homes at a reasonable price, and at a cost that will be cheaper than us supplying feeder buses,” said Pua as quoted by Malaysiakini.
Cab operator Big Blue Taxi's adviser Shamsubahrin Ismail questioned the motive behind choosing Grab, as opposed to engaging with all 45 taxi companies in Malaysia.
“If the government only allows Grab, what will happen to the taxi-metered drivers that queue from morning to night at all MRT and LRT (stations)?" he told the media after handing over a memo to a ministry representative.
He added that the group of drivers has given Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng a 24-hour deadline to meet with them and explain Pua's comments, failing which drivers will hold demonstrations nationwide.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke clarified on Wednesday that his ministry has no plans to replace feeder buses with ride-haling services at MRT stations.
He said Pua’s statement was “just a proposal”.
"We are not cancelling the feeder bus services. That was a just a proposal to complement (MRT feeder bus services), and it came from Tony,” Loke told reporters at the parliament lobby.
"As far as the Transport Ministry is concerned, we have no plans to scrap the feeder bus service right now.”
Loke also said that the taxi drivers could protest as long as it was peaceful, reported The Star.
"As far as we are concerned, we respect the freedom for them to voice out their opinion as long as it's a peaceful protest.”