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Uber-Cool Ex-Minister

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PETALING JAYA – Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar has found a new part-time job – literally – driving for Uber, the ride-sharing app that is gaining popularity here and worldwide.

Pictures of the former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and a passenger have been making their rounds on social network with many praising him for his willingness to take on the challenge of being a driver.

On Friday, a Facebook user Firdaus Fadzil posted a selfie with Abdul Wahid in the new Proton Perdana with the caption “Uber my way to office by probably one of the most successful corporate & economic maestros with his new Perdana. Five star rating for YB Senator Dato Sri!”

Firdaus said his ride from Putrajaya to KL Sentral cost him RM30.

National Entrepreneurship Institute executive director Norizan Sharif said Abdul Wahid told him that he had picked up eight passengers that day.

“I am trying to understand the pulse of the people,” Abdul Wahid had told Norizan when they broke fast together. Norizan posted the conversation on Facebook.

He said Abdul Wahid took up the role for three days before going for pilgrimage.

Abdul Wahid was appointed minister in charge of economic planning in 2013. His tenure as senator ended on June 4.

Declining to serve another term, Abdul Wahid had expressed his wish to rejoin the corporate sector but would continue contributing as a member of the Economic Council.

Previously, he was the president and chief executive officer of Maybank. Attempts to contact him were unsuccessful. A social media message attributed the move to “charitable purposes”.

Datin Orked Ahmad, sister to late filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad, shared a screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation between her and Abdul Wahid.

“It’s something I wanted to do earlier but refrained from doing so as a Minister given (the) Government has yet to decide on Uber/ride sharing regulations vis a vis taxi operation,” said Abdul Wahid in response to Orked on his experience as an Uber driver.

Abdul Wahid said he had registered as an Uber driver on Thursday and that he decided to do the act as a “personal initiative with three objectives”.

Besides experiencing what it was like to be a ride-sharing driver, he wanted to promote the new Proton Perdana as the national executive car and raise funds for an unnamed charity.

“Some of my friends pledged to match one-for-one / top-up for charity. So far, Ive got 30 times ‘top up’. That means a RM30 ride from Ministry of Com­munications, Putrajaya to KL Sentral is worth RM900 for charity!” said Abdul Wahid. – The Star Online

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