Gabungan Teksi SeMalaysia says taxi drivers should be protected, and not sidelined, by government agencies.

PETALING JAYA: Many taxi drivers say they have yet to receive the one-off payment of RM600 announced by the government last year, as part of its efforts to assist the people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Up till now, even though nearly a year has passed since the aid was announced, many of our drivers have not received the money,” Gabungan Teksi SeMalaysia (GTSM) president Kamarudin Mohd Hussain said.

He told FMT that among those affected were drivers of rented vehicles who were unable to provide the documents and confirm their eligibility for the payment.

Kamarudin said taxi drivers and other public transportation drivers should be protected by the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) instead of being sidelined.

“Unfortunately, no efforts have been made by APAD to qualify this group to receive government assistance,” he said.

According to him, many of the group’s members were concerned over APAD’s and the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board’s (CVLB) “poor track record” of protecting public transport drivers, and how it might affect their chances of receiving further government assistance.

Last April, the finance ministry announced that registered taxi drivers and tour guides would receive a one-off assistance of RM600 under Bantuan Prihatin Nasional to reduce their financial burden in the wake of the pandemic.

On Jan 18, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin also introduced a new bus and taxi hire purchase rehabilitation scheme, which enabled operators to restructure their financing and enjoy a 12-month moratorium with lower monthly repayments.

Kamarudin said the group was excited to hear about the government’s recent announcement, but feared bureaucracy might get in the way of allowing the scheme to succeed.

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He urged Putrajaya to hold direct discussions with his group for the scheme to properly take place.

Kamarudin also expressed hope that the transport ministry would carry out a “major overhaul” of APAD and CVLB to improve both agencies.

“There’s no point in changing the government, if the government continues to allow unfriendly and insincere officers to remain in an agency.

“Not only will they thwart development programmes by the government, they will also create a negative perception of the government,” he said.

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