Uber twist

25 Jan 2016 / 14:18 H.

PETALING JAYA: The cabbies' battle against Uber has taken a new twist – Khazanah Nasional Berhad has invested indirectly in the San Francisco-based technology startup since last year.
Khazanah's director (managing director's office) Mohd Raslan Md Sharif has confirmed with theSun that the state-owned investment arm has taken an indirect interest in Uber Technologies Inc via global growth equity investment General Atlantic LLC.
However, the amount invested by Khazanah is not known. Uber is currently valued at around US$51 billion (RM217.85 billion).
Klang Valley Taxi Drivers Action Committee (JKBPTLK) chairman Zailani Isa Usuludin said Khazanah's investment confirmed his suspicion of a secret deal behind Uber's presence in the country.
"Now I can understand why the Finance Ministry has endorsed Uber's illegal 'teksi sapu' services," he said, in reference to Finance Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah positive comments on Uber.
Last month, Mohd Irwan had stated that Uber's business would allow low-wage earners to supplement their income, which is in line with the government's vision for a high-income economy.
Said Zailani: "We often wondered if there is an invisible hand behind Uber's progress in Malaysia as there's no action at all to halt the availability of Uber and GrabCar apps."
He also accused the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) of aiding Uber's growth.
"We have appealed to MCMC and other agencies to shut down the Uber app and its services. It all proved futile," he said, adding that a court injunction would be filed against MCMC and Uber by the end of the month.
On Dec 27, theSun reported that Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar had slammed MCMC for evading responsibility to take action against the ride-hailing apps since it is responsible for cyberspace, tech and mobile app matters.
Attempts by theSun for the past three weeks to obtain an official reply from MCMC was unsuccessful.
Syed Hamid had stated that the transport commission had met MCMC executives several times discussing the plight of taxi drivers to ban Uber app.
It is learned that in one of the meetings, it was alleged that a senior executive from MCMC likened Uber app as akin to a "knife".
"A knife is a tool for many purposes – good and bad. Good if one uses it the right way like for cooking and survival in a jungle, and bad if the knife is used for harmful intention. We can't simply ban innovations like the Uber app just because it is deemed as a threat to certain quarters," said the MCMC senior official.


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