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Uber ibu jari hidung pada Menteri, bermula di Sarawak

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 15 September 2016

Oleh Y S CHAN

ON september 13, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nancy Shukri warned that Uber must obtain a state licence to operate in Sarawak before rolling out its ride-hailing services there or face the possibility of having its drivers go carless.

She disclosed that Uber has yet to apply for a permit from the Sarawak Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (LPKP) that will allow the company to legally offer its services in the state, citing the requirement under Section 51 of the LPKP Act.

Nancy said Road Transport Department officials and the police are authorised by law to confiscate unlicensed vehicles offering taxi service, and action could also be taken against the drivers under Section 56 Akta Pengangkutan Jalan 1987 for not having the required licence to provide taxi services.

Walau bagaimanapun, all these warnings did not stop Uber from announcing that it will begin operations in Kuching the next day.

Uber Everywhere (Malaysia) general manager Kenny Choong clarified that Uber is not a taxi operator but a transportation network company (TNC) using a technology platform that connects independent operators with riders.

He added that tens of thousands have signed up to become ‘driver partners’ in Malaysia and claimed there had been interest in sign-ups in Sarawak but the numbers could not be revealed at this stage.

Gullible private car drivers providing illegal chauffeur-driven services will not only have to contend with hostile taxi drivers, they also risk having their vehicles impounded by the authorities while Uber gets away scot-free, operating safely in cyberspace.

The TNC is very convincing on its claims that Uberisation can bring a lot of good to society but its primary goal is for a hugely successful initial public offering for its shares.

Uber’s principal objective is increasing company valuation and has achieved unprecedented success. It was valued at only US$60 million (RM245 million) dalam 2011 and speculative investors are pushing it beyond US$70 billion, atau 116 times more.

It is bent on capturing market share by charging lower than regulated fares and subsidising its drivers. It has never been profitable and least concerned with the RM1.27 billion losses for the first half of this year.

It has no respect for local authorities and ruthless against taxi drivers and their dependents. It is banned in several countries, including cities in the United States.

It has successfully steamrolled weaker regulators around the world. If the authorities in Sarawak can put their feet down, it will earn the respect of everyone, particularly Malaysians in the peninsula that the state government not only talk but act tough.

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QUESTIONS OVER BUS CRASH

ON september 12 morning, a tour bus skidded and landed on its side at KM 5.8 of the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Highway, injuring 37 daripada 44 passengers on board.

It was reported that the tyres were in good condition and the bus without mechanical fault. There was no sign of oil on the road and the driver was driving slowly.

If accidents can occur unexpectedly under seemingly safe conditions, travelling by bus must be extremely risky. But was it truly the case?

The 42-year old driver claimed that he had driven buses for 24 years and lost control of the vehicle because of slick road conditions (which did not affect other vehicles).

If what he claims is true, then, for a start, he has been driving illegally from the age of 18, as only those above 21 can obtain a public service vehicle licence to drive commercial vehicles.

The police had said the bus driver will undergo a blood test. Mudah-mudahan, it will turn out negative for drugs or alcohol. jika tidak, the bus insurance company may repudiate cover and injured passengers would not receive any compensation.

Perhaps the driver was aware that admitting fault may render the motor insurance policy null and void, and he would be liable to pay full or partial compensation.

It is tricky for the media to report on bus accidents as establishing the truth may hurt the passengers financially if insurance companies repudiate cover when their terms and conditions are not met.

It would be a fruitless exercise to sue the drivers for compensation as they have no means to pay, or a bus company may just close shop.

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