Malaysian Taxi Firm Founder’s Remarks About Gojek Sparks Outrage

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An alleged insulting remark by Big Blue Taxi Services founder has not gone down well with the rider-partners of Indonesia’s motorcycle ride-hailing firm Gojek.

Reportedly, Gabungan Aksi Roda Dua (Garda) national chief Igun Wicaksono said the riders will submit a protest letter to Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia Zainal Abidin Bakar.

Garda is an e-hailing riders association in Indonesia.

Some 10,000 riders have also threatened to demonstrate at the Malaysian embassy on Sept 3 if there is no apology from the individual.

“We estimate that some 10,000 e-hailing riders will come down to Jakarta to surround the Malaysian embassy.

“From Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi, Bandung, Sumatera…they have confirmed their attendance,” Igun said.

Big Blue Taxi Services founder Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail allegedly made a statement deemed derogatory of Gojek riders and Indonesia in a video clip that went viral in Indonesia recently.

Shamsubahrin apparently described Gojek as a service “only for poor people like in Jakarta, Thailand, India and Cambodia.”

Mukhriz Hazim

Last week, Shamsubahrin was quoted as saying that the success of Gojek in Indonesia was due to the country’s high poverty rate.

He was speaking against Putrajaya’s approval to allow operations of Gojek and other e-hailing motorcycle services in Malaysia.

Gojek was founded in 2010 by Nadiem Makarim, 35, who is also the current CEO of the transportation network and logistics start-up which offers a wide range of services, from ride-hailing to delivery as well as fintech.

In the first quarter of 2019, the Go-Jek application was downloaded more than 142 million times in Indonesia, and it currently has more than two million rider-partners.

In 2018, Gojek recorded over US$9 billion (RM37.8 billion) in gross transaction value (GTV) in all its operating countries, making it the largest consumer technology group in South-east Asia based on GTV.

Gojek also operates in Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand (where it is known as GET) and Vietnam (as GoViet).

Recently, Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Rahman proposed introducing the motorcycle e-hailing service in Malaysia, triggering a public debate on the pros and cons.