LETTER | There is nothing wrong to form or join political organisations to promote one’s religion or race just as citizens should be patriotic by contributing positively to the nation.
But there is nothing right when religion-based political parties champion one race at the expense of others, as major religions could not have spread globally if people of A different faith, ethnicity, language or culture were excluded.
Unfortunately, many people in our country could not see political parties deviating from the very religion they pretend to champion. It is easy to gain popularity by stoking emotions when supporters adopt the herd mentality, unable to think for themselves.
Likewise, leaders of race-based parties are more interested to help themselves and distribute only crumbs to their supporters rather than caring for the weak and the poor in their own community.
Granting special rights to one community may have been a necessity a long time ago but with increasing globalisation, all Malaysians must learn to compete not only with one another but also with others in this borderless world.
We also have non-governmental organisations such as taxi drivers’ associations that claim to have many thousands of members but are fronts used by individuals trying to become heroes.
They are always vocal in dialogue sessions with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) in the past and recently with Transport Minister Anthony Loke, but could not offer any sensible proposal in writing.
In the past, they claimed that taxi companies charged them high daily rentals without disclosing they were not forced to sign a rental-purchase agreement, pay several thousand ringgit as a down payment to take delivery of a taxi, agree to pay monthly instalments that include rental of a permit and a loan for the taxi and ownership of the vehicle transferred to them upon full settlement of the loan.
Last July, the Land Public Transport (LPT) Act 2010 and the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) Act 1987 were passed in the Dewan Rakyat to regulate the e-hailing industry but was only implemented from July 12 this year and will be enforced after a 12-month grace period.
The Association for the Transformation of Malaysian Taxi Drivers (Persim) deputy chairman Kamarudin Mohd Hussain said taxi drivers were unhappy with the announcement made by the new transport minister and planned to stage a protest outside Parliament building today.
As cabbies work alone, only a tiny fraction of all taxi drivers in the country are involved or interested in these taxi associations. Many had switched to e-hailing services to get more trips or stop renting permits, or moved to other more stable businesses or jobs such as driving buses or trucks for higher income.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.