Grab drivers in Malaysia gripped by fear after murder case

PHOTO: The New Paper

KOTA KINABALU - Grab drivers here have expressed safety concerns following the recent killing of Grab driver Mohd Hanafiee Jaafar, who was robbed and his body dumped in Tuaran.

The community of e-hailing drivers said they feared making trips after midnight and had been avoiding requests at "hot spots" or black areas (locations considered risky due to the presence of illegals).

Full-time Grab driver Seventen Malingka, 32, who joined the service late last year, said he stopped receiving trip requests at night following the incident.

Seventen, who hails from Kota Marudu and previously worked on oil rigs in Singapore before coming back to Sabah, said prior to this he did not mind doing the e-hailing service at any hour of the day or night.

"But after the robbery-cum-murder case, I have thought twice, and in all honesty, I've not gone out the last few nights," he added.

He said he also refused daytime trips to "black area" destinations even if those requests originated from the city.

He added that while Grab drivers were required to furnish their details on the app, the same didn't apply to passengers who paid in cash.

"You will see requests from names like Tomato and so on. Grab Malaysia must ensure passenger details like full name, identity number and address are available as well," he said, adding that this normally applied only to those paying with debit cards via GrabPay.

Retired teacher Hamzah Tuah, 53, who is a part-time Grab driver, urged the company to come up with more safety measures to protect drivers.

"I propose Grab Malaysia install a closed-circuit television (CCTV)-like device in each car which is connected online and feeds straight to the headquarters (in Kuala Lumpur), so that passengers with bad intentions would think twice before doing anything.

"This should not be a problem as this e-hailing service is also online. It will deter any passengers (from doing something bad) as they know they are being recorded.

For now, Hamzah and two of his sons, who are also Grab drivers, are avoiding any late night trip requests.

On Monday (May 27), police nabbed two men - one a local, the other a foreigner - in their 20s at 9.50pm after getting information from Grab Malaysia on Mohd Hanafiee's last passengers before he went missing.

"They have confessed to murdering Hanafiee during a robbery on May 24 and then dumping his body at an area in Tuaran not far from here," Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah told reporters on Tuesday (May 28).

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