All Grab users in Malaysia will soon have to do a one-time selfie verification in order to use the app in the country. This is to fulfil regulatory requirements.
It will be similar to what new Grab users in Singapore are already doing, and a company spokesman said yesterday that Singaporeans would also have to comply with the Malaysian rule when using the app across the Causeway.
Grab, through an announcement on its Malaysian app and its website, informed users recently that the compulsory measure will be in place by July 12.
The website message read: "The selfie is for identity verification, safety, and may be used to assist the authorities when required. Grab ensures that your selfie and identity are secure and will not be shared with our driver-partners and merchants."
Grab added that explicit permission would be sought before any access to users' cameras.
Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke had last July announced that, as part of new rules, passengers would have to upload valid identification card or passport details when they register for a ride-hailing account. He gave a year's grace to meet the requirements.
Grab adopted facial recognition technology to meet the new rule, with first-time users required to submit a selfie of themselves before booking a ride.
The Star daily reported that the new requirement has already helped solve a robbery-cum-murder case involving a Grab driver. Two suspects were nabbed in connection with the death of Mr Mohd Hanafiee Jaafar, who was robbed and killed on the job last month.
The incident resulted in drivers fearing post-midnight trips and avoiding areas deemed dangerous, The Star said.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Grab spokesman confirmed that Singaporeans using its app in Malaysia will be covered by the rule.
Within Singapore, Grab users who signed up before February this year did not have to go through selfie verification, with their identities verified by either their Facebook account or credit card details.
But new users signing up from February have had to submit selfies to successfully open their accounts.
The Grab spokesman said: "These are part of our ongoing efforts to ensure high safety and security standards on our platform for both our customers and driver-partners."
Singaporeans who use Grab during trips to Malaysia told ST that they did not mind submitting a selfie so long as it was used solely for verification purposes.
Ms Wong Shi Hui, 25, who works in events management and visits Malaysia every three months, said: "It is good that measures are in place to protect drivers as well. Selfies seem harmless enough if they can ensure a safe ride for everyone."