Dr Wee Ka Siong: Regulatory body needed to protect pHailing riders

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong has confirmed that the government is looking into the possibility of a regulatory body to protect riders in the pHailing industry—which basically covers delivery services such as GrabFood and Lalamove, to name a few. The lack of such an entity is an important issue, with the welfare of delivery riders and gig workers in the industry at stake, according to the minister.

After an MCA meeting in Johor earlier, Dr Wee explained to reporters that the pHailing industry ought to follow the example of eHailing, which is now regulated with various rules and requirements. Around 100,000 riders are estimated to be involved in the industry, serving to highlight the important role that policies would play here.

“I feel we need a policy just like e-hailing, which at one time was also not regulated. As such, the ministry is looking into having discussions on how we can protect the p-hailing (riders).

“We do understand these riders work really hard to deliver items, and I estimate about 100,000 of them are involved in this field.”

The Transport Minister also raised the government’s proposed Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) requirement for mandatory contributions from gig workers, saying that a monthly contribution of RM13.10 would suffice for basic protection under the social security scheme. However, riders must be responsible for their own safety, he warned, as well as the safety of other road users in the public.

Due to several complaints over rider driving/riding behaviour, Dr Wee says that the Road Transport Department will be running a campaign to raise awareness on the issue:

“I have asked the Road Transport Department to hold a campaign to raise awareness among these riders, as while earning their livelihood, they must also be responsible to other road users.”

The minister’s statements were made amidst ongoing complaints from pHailing riders over a lack of attention for the industry, and for gig workers’ welfare. It’s also worth noting that this isn’t the first time that a regulatory body has been mooted to protect the welfare of workers, with Bukit Gasing ADUN YB Rajiv Rishyakaran also calling for a tribunal to protect those in the gig economy.

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