KUALA LUMPUR - Taxi drivers in Malaysia are demanding a meeting with Transport Minister Anthony Loke as soon as possible - failing which they will hold a peaceful protest on Thursday (Nov 8).
Big Blue Taxi Facilities Sdn Bhd director Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail said that the taxi driver community has asked for a meeting with Loke to discuss issues faced by the community ever since the Pakatan Harapan came to power - but to no avail.
However, in Putrajaya, Loke replied that he will not entertain any request that has an element of threat.
"If you want to discuss, we are ready to hold discussions, but do not threaten us," he said, adding that this was not the culture of Malaysians.
Shamsubahrin said that one of the most important issues that taxi drivers want to discuss with Loke was e-hailing, as the rise of companies such as Grab was affecting the earnings of taxi drivers.
"We don't want the government to ban e-hailing, we just want e-hailing drivers to adhere to the same rules that govern taxi drivers so that there is a level playing field between us," he said during a press conference at the Big Blue Taxi Facilities offices on Monday.
He said that Loke's recent statement that the government would not bow to the demands of taxi drivers that Grab be banned was misleading, as taxi drivers did not ask for Grab to be banned.
"Please do not talk rubbish. I respect you so much, (so) please don't come up with these kinds of statements," he added.
He said that taxi drivers plan to hold a peaceful assembly at Parliament on Thursday (Nov 8) to demand a meeting with Loke should the minister fail to meet them beforehand.
"We want a harmonious relationship with the Ministry. We want to resolve the issue (facing taxi drivers)," he said, adding that the taxi drivers will not leave Parliament unless Loke or his deputy Datuk Kamaruddin Jaffar meet them.