Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has announced a RM520 tyre subsidy voucher for two years for taxi drivers in the country to help ease their burden.
The announcement, which is part of the Teksi Rakyat 1Malaysia (TR1MA) programme, is expected to benefit 67,000 taxi drivers nationwide.
The aid totalling RM34.84mil a year, will be funded by Yayasan 1MDB, Najib said.
The Government, through the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry, will also allocate a RM1mil fund for an accident insurance scheme to protect more than 100,000 taxi drivers nationwide, he said.
Najib made the announcement at a gathering of over 25,000 taxi drivers and operators at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium carpark here Sunday.
“We not only want to appreciate taxi drivers for their contributions but want to also find ways to take care of their welfare and pay attention to their woes.
“We do not want them to drive with bald tyres. We want them and passengers to be safe,” he said in his speech.
Najib also announced that a new model would be introduced for the taxi industry within the next one or two years to enable more drivers to obtain individual permits.
“I do not like to hear that companies are getting too many taxi licences. The era of giving it to individual companies…we will end it and will give to individuals under the new system.
“We must take care of the welfare of taxi drivers as the taxi lease system is akin to modern slavery,” he said to cheers from the floor.
Recipients of the tyre subsidy voucher must be a Malaysian citizen, a first driver and have a valid taxi card.
The subsidy will benefit those driving budget, executive, rental and airport taxis.
The programme, organised by the Information Department and Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), saw more than 10,000 taxis parked at the event venue and made it to Malaysian Guinness Book Of Records for the largest taxi gathering in the country.
TR1MA aims to provide support and aid to taxi drivers, operators and associations, including in interacting with the public and tourists.