Gojek driver allowed to drive pending LTA decision, says interview over 'kidnap' video 'went well'

PHOTO: Facebook/Kamaruzzaman Abdul Latiff, Facebook/Roads.sg

SINGAPORE - The Gojek driver involved in an investigation over a viral dispute will be allowed to drive - for now.

Speaking to The Straits Times on Thursday (Feb 7), Mr Kamaruzzaman Abdul Latiff said that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has allowed him to continue to drive for the ride-hailing firm until "the decision is out".

He said that the interview went well and that he would just wait for LTA's decision. He was referring to an interview with an LTA official at its Sin Ming Drive premises earlier the same day, in relation to a Jan 29 incident.

On Jan 31, Mr Kamaruzzaman had shared a seven-minute clip of the incident, a heated exchange with a passenger, on the Go-Jek Singapore Community Facebook page. He said the female passenger was upset that he could not avoid the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries during the journey.

Mr Kamaruzzaman, 49, added on Thursday that he was asked during the interview what had happened before the recording, why he recorded the incident, why he had posted the video online and why he drove to the police station.

In its reply on Thursday, an LTA spokesman said it has requested to meet the passenger so it can have a fuller picture of the incident.

ST reported earlier that LTA had sent a letter dated Feb 4 summoning Mr Kamaruzzaman to an interview on Thursday, as part of an investigation after complaints were filed against him.

LTA asked Mr Kamaruzzaman to bring his NRIC, vocational licence, driving licence, as well as "the recording device, its recording and any other evidence".

The letter ends by stating that his attendance is compulsory under traffic rules.

In response to ST's queries on Monday, LTA said: "To get a more comprehensive understanding of the matter, LTA will need to meet up with both the driver and the passenger to hear their respective accounts of the incident."

A Gojek spokesman had said that the company is aware of LTA investigations, which it is cooperating with "on an ongoing basis".

"It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage," the spokesman added.

When asked separately whether they would consider meeting to resolve the matter, neither Mr Kamaruzzaman or the passenger, who wanted to be known only as Jovina, seemed amenable to the idea.

Mr Kamaruzzaman said on Thursday that he had "no answer" to the question. "I am willing to forgive, but I don't think I can forget," he added.

When asked the same question, Ms Jovina, 25, said in an e-mail that "there was no misunderstanding to begin with to be cleared".

"I told the driver my destination and told him I do not wish to take the more expensive route. We did not come to an agreement in Bishan and I asked him to return me to pick-up point or drop me at any safe spot but he refused to drop me off while we were still in Bishan. The rides that I have taken have always not incurred ERP cost."

She added that such a route ran from Bishan to 1 Coleman Street (via Thomson-Bugis).

In the Jan 31 video, which was taken using Mr Kamaruzzaman's mobile phone, the passenger is heard saying "it is clear that you are out to cheat (my) money".

Update: ”Ok, when I reached AETOS STATION she was making a lot of noise till Cisco officer talks to her. She quickly...

Posted by ROADS.sg on Thursday, 31 January 2019

Mr Kamaruzzaman repeatedly says that he prefers to settle any issues at a police station.

The car eventually comes to a stop in Toa Payoh Lorong 4, as Mr Kamaruzzaman speaks to a Certis Cisco officer.

At one point, the passenger screams, claiming that Mr Kamaruzzaman had locked the car door on purpose and intended to kidnap her, noting later that he did not want to let her alight from the car when they could not settle their dispute.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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