PETALING JAYA - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has slammed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for completely disregarding the benefits of e-hailing services for the people.
This was in reference to the former premier reportedly pledging to get rid of ride-hailing service Grab to fend for taxi drivers and car rental services during a dialogue with tour drivers in Langkawi on Sunday.
"In his attempt to gain support from taxi drivers, Mahathir has pledged to review e-hailing services such as Grab if Harapan wins the general election. This is yet another evidence of how this nonagenarian refuses to adapt to the times or understand how technological advances benefit Malaysians," said the Prime Minister on his official Facebook page on Monday.
According to Najib, the right approach to e-hailing services is to incorporate their benefits for the people, while assisting our taxi drivers to embrace new technologies and help them to buy new vehicles.
Since 2012, the Government has given substantial assistance to taxi drivers nationwide, the most recent being the 1Malaysia Taxi Assistance Card and automatic approval for BR1M.
The Government has also helped taxi drivers with initiatives such as TR1MA, the taxi trade-in scheme, personal insurance as well as a RM200 million (S$67.5 million) allocation via Bank Simpanan Nasional to allow taxi drivers to obtain loans to buy new vehicles.
In 2015, the Government reviewed taxi fares and in 2016 the Taxi Industry Transformation Programme (TITP) was launched.
"In the Budget 2018 tabling, I announced that a RM5,000 grant for the purchase of new vehicles will be given to drivers who wish to convert to the e-hailing service," said Najib, adding that all e-hailing and hire car drivers are required to adhere to the same terms, conditions and regulations as taxi drivers, in order to create fair and healthy competition.
"For those of you who are voting for the first time, you probably did not experience the years of Mahathir. This is typical Mahathirism for you – it's either his way or the highway. With tolls.
"Just look at what he did to Proton. The national carmaker could have been a top multinational carmaker that is profitable and one that Malaysians can be proud of," he said.
Instead, Najib added, it constantly needed Government assistance and taxpayers money to compete.
"Do we want to go back to the old days, or do we want to move forward, as a nation, to greater heights?" he queried.