Mat Rempit to GoJek?

Do we remember when the conflict between the taxi drivers and Grab began? It was long enough to witness the change of Government. Although regulations of e-hailing were implemented, there are still issues facing both stakeholders. Since then, there were also many other e-hailing startups developed. 

Even before we solve the issues between taxi drivers and Grab, the Government decided to bring in another. There were many questions that came into my mind when the news broke out.

Just last week, our Youth and Sports Minister, Syed Saddiq was so proud to announce that GoJek from Indonesia will be coming to operate in Malaysia. Very similar to Grab, but instead of cars, GoJek’s provides ride-hailing services using motorcycles.

Before we go into local startups, competition and the transportation system of our country, we should look back at what the current Transport Minister has mentioned last year.

In September last year, Anthony Loke as the Transport Minister said, “The Ministry maintains its stance against motorcycle ride-hailing services mainly for safety reasons. In Malaysia, there are too many accidents involving bikes that we just can’t take the risk.”

That is when Dego Ride, a local motorcycle ride-hailing startup was banned in Malaysia. Less than a year after that, the idea was booted back again, and it wasn’t Dego Ride who gets to ride at it.

As we all know, the safety of riding a motorcycle in Malaysia has always been a concern. The high number of accidents involving motorcycles, and the issues of Mat Rempit has to be of concern before we even consider such services. According to a research of Global Status Report on Road Safety, Malaysia has the third highest fatality rate from road traffic accidents. More than half of the road traffic deaths are motorcyclists. How many more are we expecting if the number of bike trips increases with the ride-hailing services?

Even assuming that the traffic safety has improved, aren’t we supposed to first support our local players before bringing in the big regional companies? Before Dego Ride was banned by the Government, it has already build a foundation to begin with. Why don’t the Government create flexibility and encourage investors to fund this local startup instead? Bring back the local startup before we get in big players such as GoJek.

Syed Saddiq has always proudly claimed that he supports the growth of Industrial Revolution 4.0 in Malaysia. He even tweeted that he wants the world to know that the Malaysian Government is committed to preparing Malaysia for the future when he was about to speak in the World Economic Forum.

So what does he mean by preparing Malaysia for the future? By bringing in other country’s startups to Malaysia? Or by just focusing on e-sports and playing games? We should be confident of our own local talents. If they are not good enough, provide them with platforms to learn and develop their skills. Our country has a good existing platform to assist in building startups such as the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre. 

The Youth and Sports Minister even supported his case of bringing in GoJek which will help create jobs for the local youth in Malaysia. So much so of his ideas of developing bright talents in the country. I wonder if he means bright talents in riding bikes then?

It does not solve the underlying problems of the youth. Why do we need to create this kind of job opportunities in the first place? Are we encouraging the youth just to earn an income by being bikers? Are our youth not competitive enough to face the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and the corporate world? Or are we not generating enough jobs?

What has the Government done for the youth to embrace the Industrial Revolution 4.0? We have been raising all the wrong issues recently and we forgot about the important ones. Khat, Zakir Naik and questioning’s people’s loyalty towards the nation wouldn’t help that. 

Knowing the social issues of Mat Rempit that Malaysia sees, are we ready to ride with a Mat Rempit?