No stopping e-hailers — Covid or not!

Sallehuddin with his e-hailing vehicle (Grab Car).

KUCHING: The e-hailing sector, which experienced a boom not too long ago, is now slowing down as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Grab Malaysia’s main e-hailing business has seen a substantial reduction in demand after the implementation of the movement control order (MCO), affecting the income of drivers.

However, many continue to persevere during this tough time.

Sallehuddin Fikri Drahman, a final-year student who has worked as a Grab driver since 2018, feels that being an e-hailing driver is now more than just a job, but a part of his social obligation.

“I consider Grab to be part of the essential services during MCO as I provide services to those who do not have transportation to commute to get their necessities, which helps to alleviate their burden during this pandemic.

“I give back to the community as a Grab driver by assisting people in getting to their destinations, whether it’s their workplace or the vaccination centres.”

According to Sallehuddin, the challenges of this work also come with a significant danger of transmitting the virus to himself and his family.

“We never know if our clients are infected with the virus or not, so I had a swab test three times to guarantee my health.

“Since the car is a confined space with a high possibility of contracting the virus, I opted to conduct the swab test on my own to protect everyone else around me.”

Nur Asmira with her e-hailing vehicle (Grab Car).

Meanwhile, Nur Asmira Mohd Azlan Jong, a technician at a local plant in Kuching, is also grateful for the chance Grab has provided her.

“I’m thankful to Grab because it allows me to make money even if it’s not as much as before, but it still helps me to save money for my future.

“We must have our own savings as there is a possibility that we may get laid off from our job during this time, that is why we need to be prepared for any eventualities.

“I work for Grab on my days off and when I have spare time, but I still believe it is worthwhile since many people have chosen to restrict their mobility during MCO, therefore there is still a demand for our services.”

To prevent the infection from spreading, Nur Asmira says she made it a practice to sanitise herself and her vehicle before each travel.

“I will never compromise my health during this time, which is why I did both swab test and self-quarantine at home.

“I also make it a point to sanitise my hands at all times and practise physical distancing in the car by strictly limiting the number of passengers; it is better to be safe than sorry.”