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Friday, August 12, 2022

How Putrajaya can help secure better deal for delivery riders


Former SPAD official Wan Agyl Wan Hassan says the main issue surrounding food delivery riders is a large company’s domination of the market.

PETALING JAYA: A former Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) official has suggested two ways the government can help food delivery riders get a fair deal from their companies.

Wan Agyl Wan Hassan, former SPAD group operations head of policy and planning, noted that the main issue was a large company’s domination of the market.

As such, he told FMT, the government could:

  • Introduce measures to encourage healthy competition, such as by helping small players grow into formidable competitors; and
  • Get the transport ministry to cooperate with agencies like InvestKL, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, and the Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute to run programmes to provide small players access to investors, fundraising and technical support.
Wan Agyl Wan Hassan.

He also said the demand for food delivery was such that the companies could make “take it or leave it” offers that riders in need of work could not refuse.

“I believe there is a need for these companies to offer better benefits to retain their riders,” he said.

His remarks followed last week’s 24-hour nationwide strike by some delivery riders to protest against poor pay.

Wan Agyl warned that failure by the companies to meet the demands of their riders would eventually hurt the quality of their service.

Economist Carmelo Ferlito of the Center for Market Education suggested that Putrajaya facilitate negotiations between companies and riders to iron out a fair deal.

But he said any government intervention should end there. “The government lacks the necessary insight for understanding the complexity” of the gig economy, he said.

However, Malaysian P-Hailing Delivery Riders Association (Penghantar) deputy president Abdul Hakim Abdul Rani said government intervention was needed in wrestling with big companies.

“Our issue is that there is no government intervention,” he said. “The big companies are not being fair to the riders. They keep shifting the goalpost.”

After a meeting last Monday between transport minister Wee Ka Siong and members of the P-hailing community, a spokesman for riders said they were left with more questions than answers.

Penghantar president Zulhelmi Mansor said the riders raised 10 issues but none were addressed.

To make matters worse, he added, they were now burdened with having to get a goods vehicle licence (GDL).

Wee has since clarified that the riders would need a vocational licence, not a GDL.

During the meeting, he said his ministry would table amendments to three laws to protect the interest of riders. - FMT

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