There has been much furore over Grab in Malaysia after its acquisition of Uber earlier this year. The threat of monopoly in the ride hailing industry has been a concern, and unhappy taxi drivers recently walked out of a dialogue session with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad over Grab.
In response to the chatter about Grab and the taxi industry, Grab Malaysia’s country head, Sean Goh (pictured), said the company believes Grab is “nearly there” when it comes to being a fully inclusive community. He noted that high e-hailing standards on vehicle age, quality ratings and cherry-picking is the crux of the problem, as this may lead to some taxi drivers being inadvertently excluded. However, he assured that Grab is “actively working” on a solution for communities in other Malaysian cities.
Goh added that the company “firmly [believes]” all taxis and private cars are a core driver and beneficiary of the overall growth of the public transport. “To begin with, all of Grab’s own efforts to strengthen last-mile connectivity will not discriminate between vehicle types,” he said. Goh added:
Moreover, we do not have any intention to seek exclusive arrangements with our government.
As a result, Goh said he humbly invites other fellow e-hailing networks and taxi associations operating outside of e-hailing to set aside differences and contribute resources towards creating more affordable access for all Malaysians.
In the past year, Grab has tied up with transport partners such as KTM and Prasarana to improve access to affordable mobility and reduce Malaysia’s reliance on car ownership.
“Sadly, some parties have skewed this broader push towards supporting public transport to assert that once again, taxis or other transport options like feeder buses are excluded from growth and limiting passengers of options,” Goh said.
Nonetheless, Goh acknowledged the government’s “progressive stance” in striving towards a greater public transportation landscape while offering income opportunities for Malaysians. While there are some potential areas of improvement to help reduce the friction and burden of requirements on e-hailing drivers, Goh said he believes the fair, balanced approach of the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Finance and Prime Minister’s Department have given many Malaysians the confidence to continue earning an honest and respectable income.
“We are proud and remain committed to continue pushing towards a balanced, inclusive growth and progress for our nation,” Goh added.