The Malaysian government has decided to disallow e-hailing services on motorbikes, despite previous conditional approval.
Addressing Parliament, the Deputy Transport Minister Henry Sum Agong justified the move by referencing that a high proportion of road accidents in the country involve bike riders, and that it makes up 64% of the total casualties. In 2019, according to the Lawas MP, more than 3900 bike-related deaths were recorded.
“(As such) there is no proposal to introduce e-hailing of motorcycles in terms of (sic) safety issues and risks to passengers.”
Henry made the announcement in a reply to Larry S’ng, the Julau MP who was formerly aligned with Pakatan Harapan (PH) but now sits as an independent. Larry then took the Deputy Minister to task, calling for the government to reconsider.
“Thailand and Indonesia have allowed companies to operate motorcycle e-hailing services. Your answer is not convincing – neighbouring countries can do it, why not Malaysia?,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.
“If there are safety concerns, the ministry should introduce strict guidelines instead of stopping motorcycle e-hailing altogether.”
Joining in the chorus of concern, MUDA founder Syed Saddiq also criticised the outright ban, calling the decision “lazy and non-transparent”.
“This is the first time we are hearing about this,” the Muar MP said.
Syed Saddiq had served in the previous PH cabinet, which had given conditional approval to a local start-up Dego Ride to operate, subject to a 6-month long study period.
He had been a supporter of Dego Ride, even officiating their January 2020 launch, and had also negotiated to bring Indonesian motorbike e-hailing service GoJek to enter the country.
The study was scheduled to run until June of that year, but was put on hold after the change of government, despite some 700-plus riders already then registered with the company.