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Angry Cabbies Challenge Cabinet Order

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Taxi drivers will not obey the Cabinet’s directive to put off the fare hike announced by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to a later date.

A group of about 50 taxi dri­vers, representing 22 associations, pledged to continue charging the increased fares until SPAD officially overturns its decision.

The group led by Metered Taxi Drivers Task Force chairman Amran Jan said more than 50% of its 6,000 members had calibrated their meters for the new fares.

“We urge those who have yet to change to use the new rates until SPAD comes up with a new directive.

“We will not listen to objections from any parties.

“The review is timely because we waited for more than six years for the new fares.

“It has nothing to do with the implementation of the Goods and Services (GST),” he told a media conference yesterday.

Amran said the higher fares would help taxi drivers cope with the rising costs of operating and maintaining their vehicles.

“We are also Malaysians and we will be affected by the GST too,” he said, adding that the public could expect an improvement in services in stages, with the fare increase.

Asked what they would do if SPAD decided to abide by the Cabinet directive and postpone the new fares, Amran said taxi drivers would consider staging a protest and would submit a petition to the authorities.

Taxi association Pers1M deputy chairman Kamaruddin Mohd Hassan said the continued postponement of fare hikes was unfair to taxi drivers.

Checks conducted by The Star on several taxi companies based in the Klang Valley showed that most had implemented the new rates.

Federal Territory and Selangor Taxi Operators’ Association president Datuk Aslah Abdullah said it would be difficult for the Government to retract the increased rates as about 5,000 cabbies in the Klang Valley had recalibrated their meters.

Aslah said Thursday’s announcement of the new fares by SPAD was something that the 61,000 cabbies throughout the country and 30,000 in Klang Valley had been waiting for since the last fare adjustment in 2009.

“Cabbies have been busy calibra­­­ting their meters since the an­­nouncement was made.

“This is an opportunity for us to earn a little bit more money for our families,” he said.

Malaysian Taxi, Limousine and Rental Car Operators and Drivers Association president Mohd Syahrir Abdul Aziz said it was understandable that taxi drivers would want to defy the Cabinet’s orders.

“This is not a political issue and should not be used by anyone to gain political mileage. This is about the welfare of the taxi drivers.

“They don’t have anyone taking care of them. They have families to feed.

“How are they to care for their families if they can hardly make ends meet?” he asked.

Mohd Syahrir said if the Cabinet was firm in postponing the fare increases, taxi drivers should be given aid in the form of fuel or other subsidies.-The Star

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