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Malaysian cabbies block roads in protest over GrabCar promotion

Action over GrabCar promotion offering S$0.34 rides

Just over a week after taxi drivers brought traffic to a halt in Kuala Lumpur, about 500 taxi drivers staged another strike on Friday.

They were upset that ride-hailing app GrabCar was offering a RM1 (34 Singapore cents) ride promotion.

During the week-long promotion, which started on Thursday and will end on Wednesday, GrabCar passengers travel for that amount for the first five kilometres, Malay Mail Online reported.

The cabbies drove in convoys and gathered at several locations, including KLCC, KL Sentral, Istana Budaya and even parked their vehicles along the busy Jalan Tun Razak near Lembaga Tabung Haji headquarters, blocking at least two lanes in the process.

Traffic came to a halt in the busy area of the city, the report said.

The drivers dispersed after a while due to the police presence.

Association for the Transformation of Malaysian Taxi Drivers deputy chairman Kamarudin Mohd Hussain said the promotion was "unfair".

He said: "We are already losing business to GrabCar and Uber. Such promotions will further damage the industry."

Mr Kamarudin said taxi drivers had shared the news of the gathering through WhatsApp.

"I only found out in the morning and immediately joined the other drivers. We were supposed to gather at KLCC but we were asked to leave the area by police. We then moved to other areas."

Taxi driver Badrul Shah Ikram, 39, said the protest was significant as they were pushing the authorities to regulate ride-hailing app services.

'LEVEL PLAYING FIELD'

He told Malay Mail Online: "We are seeking fair treatment from authorities. It must be a level playing field.

"Those providing such services must understand there are rules to follow."

Another driver, Mr Saiful Omar Bakri, 48, urged the authorities to take proactive measures to address the issue.

He said the authorities must have a "hands-on" approach.

He added: "We want the authorities to talk to us."

Malaysian cabbies had staged a similar protest against apps Uber and GrabCar on March 29 along the city's main shopping belt, Malaysian media reported.

They parked their taxis along Jalan Bukit Bintang, bringing traffic to a complete standstill along some of the busiest roads in the Klang Valley where a tourist-friendly stretch of shopping malls are.

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