By Soon Li Wei
KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 (Bernama) -- The government´s move to amend regulations under the Road Transport Department to allow people with disabilities (OKU) to register as e-hailing drivers will provide an opportunity for them to be self-dependent.
It is among efforts being planned by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to ease the cost of living burden of the OKU, and also seen as a recognition by the government on the capability of the OKU to contribute to the society.
The move will also ensure the OKU will not be left out in the country´s development and enhance their contribution in the country´s economy.
Chairman of the Malaysia Independent Living Association for Disabled (MILAD), Esther Lim said the move planned by the government, especially the Transport Ministry, will enable the OKU to source for their own income.
"They may seem to be incapable of becoming e-hailing drivers because of their physical handicap, but many of them have actually been driving for more than 20 years and in possession of valid driving licence, with doctor´ s recommendations through medical report, " she told Bernama.
Recently, the Transport Ministry confirmed that the terms and condition for application of the Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence will be amended to allow the OKU to become e-hailing drivers following the regulation which requires all drivers of e-hailing service to register for PSV licence, like taxi drivers, beginning July 12 this year.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke said there are currently about 400 OKU e-hailing drivers.
Dewan Negara member representing the OKU, Senator Bathmavathi Krishnan said the move is a starting point to eliminate the stigma in the society against OKU who are often looked upon as needing to rely on others because of their handicap.
"Every OKU wants to succeed in life and be independent, but sometimes, the stigma in the society makes them (OKU) lose their confidence, resulting in some of them to not want to communicate with the others because they feel they are looked down by others.
"With the OKU being allowed to register for the PSV licence, it will provide more job opportunities for them and will give them more confidence to be part of the society, " she added.
Bathmavathi also suggested that facilities be made available for the OKU to register for the PSV licence, and exemptions given, based on their capability.
"For example, for the written test, the RTD can arrange for oral test for the physically handicapped as the venue for the test may be far and a problem for the OKU to go, or provide an alternative place for them to sit for the test, " he said.
MyCar E-hailing application founder Mohd Noah Maideen said it is an innovation in the e-hailing industry that will create diversity between the normal drivers and OKU drivers.
"However, it is necessary that we be briefed and given better understanding of the matter as it is something new and involves the OKU where adjustments have to be made based on their needs.
"In addition, the acquisition of the PSV license and e-hailing registration to the JPJ should be given more than three months because now e-hailing and driver companies are still not fully aware of the government's decision," he said.
He said more time should be given for e-hailing drivers to register for the PSV licence as most of the e-hailing companies and drivers have yet to fully understand the requirement for them to do so.