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Delivery riders won’t need GDL, new pHailing license to be introduced, says Transport Minister

Two days after the news that food and parcel delivery riders (or pHailing riders, as they are now being called in Malaysia) would need a Goods Driving Licence (GDL) to operate, transport minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong came out and empathically put a kibosh on the report.

In a press conference, Wee said that not only will riders not be required to apply for a GDL, they also won’t need to send their motorcycles for Puspakom inspection. “Yesterday, I watched a few videos that alleged we are forcing all pHailing riders to take the GDL test, and some are also saying they will need a Puspakom inspection [for their vehicles]. I feel that that’s not right.

“The amendments we are making to the Act 333 of the Road Transport Act are only meant to regulate the pHailing industry and [determine] how we are going to register those who are involved in this industry as pHailing riders. The MOT [Ministry of Transport] has agreed since last year that we will not burden anyone, especially [motorcycle] riders,” he said.

Wee put the confusion down to the use of ‘vocational licence’ in his original statement, which people assumed was referring to either the GDL – a licence meant for heavy vehicles – or the Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence for carrying paying passengers. He clarified the ministry is instead proposing to create a new type of vocational licence specific to delivery riders.

“I promise you this is absolutely not the same as a GDL, which is meant for four-wheeled vehicles and requires drivers to take a special course and undergo a stringent process to obtain it. That is not the case,” Wee said, adding that the ministry only wants to make it easier to officially register delivery riders.

While the licence is still in the early stages of planning, Wee said it will function solely as a token to recognise the status of delivery riders, and it will not be costly. “The proposal, subject to discussions with all stakeholders, [is for the licence to cost] only a few ringgit, not even RM10.”

He has also requested his officers to provide a one-year moratorium for the cost of the licence, in order to encourage riders to register themselves. The licence will also only require them to attend a short introductory course, “maybe three hours,” instead of having to sit for a full test.

Meanwhile, Wee said he expressed concern when reading a report by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), which found that 62% of delivery riders stopped in yellow boxes and pedestrian walkways. Another 14% used handphones while riding, while 7% of them ran red lights and made illegal U-turn; 3% of them rode against traffic flow. The study used the Integrated Transport Information System (ITIS) to monitor the riding behaviour of 16,038 riders on 11 roads in Kuala Lumpur.

“We’re creating this licence to tell these riders nicely: do your jobs carefully,” Wee said. He also mentioned that the licence will prove beneficial in the future if the government wants to provide assistance to these riders, as they will have a ready database.

In his statement released on Monday, the minister wrote that the MOT, together with its divisions the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) and the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (LPKP) of Sabah and Sarawak, will regulate the vehicles used for goods deliveries. The agencies will establish requirements for mandatory insurance coverage, licensing, vehicle safety and rider/driver competence, among others.

The bit that caused the confusion was the proposal to lower the minimum age of the vocational licence for goods delivery motorcycles to 18, allowing individuals to work as delivery riders as soon as they receive their motorcycle licence. The statement follows a meeting with stakeholders in the delivery and ride-hailing (eHailing) industry, after riders held a strike last Friday to protest Grab allegedly lowering their earnings – something the company has since moved to deny.


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