E-hailing services will soon have to look to the government for approval before recruiting new drivers. Land Public Transport Commission chairman Syed Hamid Albar has said that it government agencies like the Road Transport Department and police will take over the screening of drivers for safety purposes.
The recent incident where an Uber driver robbed his passenger at knifepoint has the government concerned about the vetting process of e-hailing services. At the moment, each company is left to screen potential candidates on its own. Both Uber and Grab claim to have thorough screening procedures, but this does not appear to be enough for the government.
“They told us that they have a good screening system in place with background checks done with the police and JPJ. Obviously, this has not been followed accordingly,” said Syed Hamid.
Changes to the Land Transport Act 2010 are set for a follow up discussion in Parliament in July. These new amendments will require services like Uber and Grab to turn over driver databases to SPAD for background checks.
Syed Hamid has said that this will be a necessary step before the drivers will be given their new drivers’ badges. Government issued badges are one of the requirements set for the legalisation of ride-sharing and e-hailing services in Malaysia. However, the final legislation has not yet been approved by Parliament.
At the moment, Uber and Grab use third party services to conduct background checks on all new applications. Grab goes one step further by requiring potential drivers to attend a training course and pass a test.