How the DAP’s Chin Tong, Anthony Loke and Guan Eng took taxi drivers for a ride

TTF: On the 19th of September 2018, Bloomberg published an editorial in which the New York based daily spoke of widespread bribery and criminal probes related to Uber (now defunct in Malaysia), a peer-to-peer ridesharing, taxi cab, food delivery, bicycle-sharing, and transportation network company (TNC) quite similar to Grab.

Bloomberg wrote:

Uber Technologies Inc., facing a federal probe into whether it broke laws against overseas bribery, has embarked on a review of its Asia operations and notified U.S. officials about payments made by staff in Indonesia, people with knowledge of the matter said.

As the Justice Department looks into a possible criminal case, Uber is working with law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP to examine records of foreign payments and interview employees, raising questions about why some potentially problematic business dealings weren’t disclosed sooner, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

The probe started after it was alleged that an Uber employee in Indonesia made multiple small payments to policemen on the understanding that Uber would be permitted to continue operating from an office located in a non-business zone.

The probe was later extended to China, India, Malaysia and South Korea.

According to Bloomberg, the Malaysian probe related to two specific cases – an alleged early stage US$30 million investment by pension fund Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) in Uber, as well as Uber’s participation in an entrepreneurship programme of Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC).

In response, the DAP’s Lieu Chin Tong hit out at the then Treasury secretary-general, Irwan Serigar Abdullah, and the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri, requesting that they respond to the Bloomberg report.

According to him, Irwan was the chairman of both MaGIC and KWAP, and as such, owed Malaysians an answer pertaining his role in the whole affair.

Then, during a parliamentary debate on amendments to the Land Public Transport Commission Act (2010), Liew asked Nancy outright if she could provide details related to investments by government-linked companies in Uber.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the current chairman of Khazanah, while Lim Guan Eng is now the Minister of Finance.

It follows, that there is nothing stopping Liew from seeking recourse to the duo if indeed he’s sincere in getting to the bottom of things.

A simple scan through Khazanah’s files would put the matter to rest and reveal if indeed KWAP broke laws by making an early stage investment in Uber.

That having been said, the very notion that KWAP broke laws by making that investment is utterly ridiculous.

Liew of all people should know that the core purpose of KWAP’s existence is to make investments in areas deemed profitable for the benefit of pensioners.

Notwithstanding, on the 22nd of September 2017, he wrote:

The DAP parliamentarians, especially Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming and myself, have been calling for:

A bill of rights for drivers

The amended act only recognises, registers and deals with e-hailing companies without dealing with the drivers. The drivers are supposed to be “self-governed” by giant corporations such as Uber and Grab while many taxi drivers fall prey to cronies who are given taxi permits in block.

A tribunal

A tribunal should be formed within the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to handle the complaints of all taxi and e-hailing drivers. Currently, drivers have no avenue to resolve their disputes with the giant international corporations of Uber and Grab. My colleague Ong Kian Ming prepared a draft amendment bill which was rejected by the government.

A 15% cap on commission

Currently, Uber charges drivers 25% of fares as commission while Grab charges 20%. E-hailing drivers put in their time and personal vehicles and put their lives on the road for meagre incomes while technological providers Uber and Grab, which are international corporations, take huge cuts and repatriate their profits overseas. DAP has repeatedly called for the government to put a 15% cap on commission so that drivers earn slightly more from their hard work. This would also indirectly help the domestic economy.

Individual permits for taxi drivers

One of the major problems faced by taxi drivers is that they don’t get individual permits but have to rent them from cronies who get them in bulk. DAP has called for individual permits to be given in larger numbers, and on SPAD and the government to do more for the taxi sector and not treat it as a sunset industry.

These are among some of the proposals the DAP MPs have made inside and outside of Parliament during the debate on amendments to the Land Public Transport Act 2010.

The Ministry of Transport portfolio is currently being held by Anthony Loke Siew Fook, a man many a DAP member knows is closely associated with Chin Tong and Guan Eng.

Yet, not only has Loke failed to table the so-called “bill of right for drivers,” almost all of the measures ‘championed’ by the DAP (and highlighted by Liew) have yet to be implemented despite it being five months since Pakatan Harapan came into power.

But prior to the 14th general election, the DAP promised to look into the plight of taxi drivers provided that they came out in full force to support Pakatan Harapan.

Now do you understand why our drivers are pissed as hell?

PUTRAJAYA: Cab drivers are giving Lim Guan Eng 24 hours to explain why e-hailing service Grab is given “preferential treatment” to provide complementary services to commuters.

They are demanding that the Finance Minister resolve this issue that discriminates taxi drivers, failing which they will organise pickets nationwide.

A group of tax drivers was led by Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail, who is the founder of Big Blue Taxi Facilities Sdn Bhd, to the Finance Ministry to hand over a memorandum to the minister.

“We want explanations as to why the Pakatan Harapan government, which we threw our support for during the general election, has sidelined us,” he said when met at MoF on Wednesday (Oct 16).

Tony Pua, who is the political secretary to the Finance Minister, was reported to have said that the government is in talks with e-hailing company Grab to provide complementary transport services to commuters.

He said the move is to help the government to defray the cost of some of the public transport expenditure.

Source: The Star Online

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