Bleak future for OKU e-hailing drivers

Sylvia John Gemok

KUCHING: More handicapped (OKU) drivers will lose their jobs after July 12 if they failed to obtain their public service vehicle (PSV) licences, which will allow them to be legal e-hailing drivers, said Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) women’s movement chief, Sylvia John Gemok.

Sylvia, who is also PBDSB Women and Children Development Welfare Bureau chief, said the handicapped have difficulty taking PSV health screening, which is a condition for taking PSV courses and tests.

This is because many doctors either refuse or do not dare to carry out health checks on the handicapped for the purpose.
“I received complaints from handicapped e-hailing drivers saying that there were doctors on the e-hailing medical panel who refused to check on the handicapped for various reasons,” added Sylvia.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke recently announced that the government had introduced a special programme for the handicapped to obtain their PSV licences to allow them to be legal e-hailing drivers.

The Public Land Transport Agency (APAD), Road Transport Department (RTD) and the Health Ministry were directed to work on the programme.

Loke said there were a few conditions that needed to be fulfilled by the handicapped drivers or would-be drivers.
“First, they need to undergo health examinations; then they train on an online simulator for six hours based on a module set by the Road Transport Department. This can be done through the service supervisors (e-hailing operators or EHOs) without having to be present at a driving school,” he said.

Next, he said, is a one-hour written test, the result of which will be announced. If the applicant passed the test a PSV card will be issued five days later to him/her through the EHO.

Sylvia said it has been proven for years that the handicapped has been transporting passengers and contributing to the community and the government.

“We should encourage handicapped people to do business as well as e-hailing to enable them to earn income,” she added.
Sylvia suggested that they should be exempted from the rule until a certain period of time when the government provides a special form for them or set a policy that is friendlier to them.

She also called for the Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and state Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah to take immediate action on the matter.