KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Taxi drivers in Malaysia are demanding a meeting with Transport Minister Anthony Loke as soon as possible - failing which they will hold a peaceful protest on Thursday (Nov 8).
Big Blue Taxi Facilities Sdn Bhd director Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail said that the taxi driver community has asked for a meeting with Mr Loke to discuss issues facing the community ever since the Pakatan Harapan government came to power - but to no avail.
However in Putrajaya, Mr Loke replied that he would not entertain any request that had an element of threat.
"If you want to discuss, we are ready to hold discussions, but do not threaten us," he said, adding that this was not the culture of Malaysians.
Mr Shamsubahrin said that one of the most important issues taxi drivers want to discuss with Mr Loke is e-hailing, as the rise of companies such as Grab is affecting the earnings of taxi drivers.
"We don't want the Government to ban e-hailing, we just want e-hailing drivers to adhere to the same rules that govern taxi drivers so that there is a level playing field between us," he said during a press conference at the Big Blue Taxi Facilities offices on Monday (Nov 5).
He said Mr Loke's recent statement that the Government would not bow to the demands of taxi drivers that Grab be banned was misleading, as taxi drivers had not asked for Grab to be banned.
"Please do not talk rubbish. I respect you so much, (so) please don't come up with these kind of statements," he added.
He said that taxi drivers plan to hold a peaceful assembly at Parliament on Thursday to demand a meeting with Mr Loke should the minister fail to meet them beforehand.
"We want a harmonious relationship with the Ministry. We want to resolve the issue (facing taxi drivers)," he said, adding that the taxi drivers will not leave Parliament unless Mr Loke or his deputy Datuk Kamaruddin Jaffar meets them.