Monday June 25, 2012
Big drive for cabbies
By FLORENCE A. SAMY
KUALA LUMPUR: Taxi drivers can rake in better earnings now that a new model aimed at enabling more drivers to get individual permits is being put in place.
The new model, which will also improve taxi services and efficiency, is expected to be implemented within two years but cabbies had immediate reason to cheer yesterday.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced aid totalling almost RM35mil a year under the Teksi Rakyat 1Malaysia (TR1Ma) programme to help ease their burdens.
It includes a two-year RM520 tyre subsidy for 67,000 drivers of budget taxis, executive taxis, hired cars and airport taxis. It will be funded by Yayasan 1MDB.
Najib said the Government would also allocate a RM1mil fund for a personal accident insurance scheme, through the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry, to protect the over 100,000 taxi drivers nationwide.
He announced these perks at a gathering of over 25,000 taxi drivers, operators and their families at the compound of the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
“The new model is part of our long-term plan. I do not like to hear that companies are getting too many taxi licences,” he said. “We must take care of the welfare of taxi drivers as the lease system is akin to modern-day slavery,” he said to cheers from the crowd.
Najib said the Government appreciated the taxi drivers' contributions. “We must feel the pulse of the people and understand them. We must engage with them and fulfil their wishes so that they can have a better tomorrow. And, we do not make empty promises.”
The launch of TR1Ma was recognised by the Malaysia Book of Records as the largest gathering of taxi drivers and their vehicles.
Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the new system would enable long-serving drivers who leased taxis to apply for individual permits.
“A comprehensive study is being carried out on the permits and problems faced by the taxi drivers. The PM wants us to table the model as soon as possible.”
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim urged taxi drivers to register with the Malaysian Taxi Drivers, Limousine and Car Rental Operators Association to benefit from the insurance scheme. It provides a maximum RM10,000 coverage.
Tyre subsidy and insurance scheme brighten up taxi drivers' day