Grab and Perodua Join Forces; May the Rakyat Benefit

Back when the Malaysian government announced the 2017 Budget, it encouraged the lower income group to supplement their income by becoming Uber drivers. Prime Minister Najib also announced that the annual financial handout for low income households, BR1M, could be used to purchase the Proton Iriz, and a further rebate would be given to purchasers with the intent of becoming Uber drivers. When reporting the matter back then, we found it curious that the government chose to promote Uber specifically, neglecting to mention the homegrown and arguably more popular Grab in this here parts and that Perodua also offers the Bezza sedan, which is bigger and better for ferrying more passengers, and costs less than the Iriz.

READ ALSO: Malaysia's 2017 Budget made Uber and Proton very Happy 

But no matter. Perodua and Grab have combined forces by signing an MoU that will lead to special packages for Grab drivers when they purchase the Bezza, MyVi or Alza models, including special prices and competitive hire purchase rates. The MoU also includes “minimal time for car registration for Grab drivers, a one-stop centre for servicing and spare parts, insurance and road tax (issuance and renewal)”.

Perodua and Grab are hardly the underdogs, we have to say (perhaps that is why the gomen didn't think they needed a boost, and not because the state-owned investment arm, Khazanah, is one of Uber's investors). From January to April 2017, Perodua dominated the local automotive market with a 35.4% market share, equivalent to 64,600 vehicles, with the Bezza taking over the MyVi as the best-selling model (thus far this year, anyway).

Meanwhile, Grab has gone head-to-head with Uber in South East Asia but has had the upper-hand so far, considering it has a better understanding of the transportation needs of the locals in different countries and is practising the flexibility of tailoring its services accordingly (from hitchhiking to door-to-door courier services).

The more pressing issue, we suppose, is that the lower income group will be able to benefit from these partnerships, whether Uber-Proton or Grab-Perodua. In our less than scientific observation – ie. taking Grab/Uber rides and chatting with the drivers – many have been able to eke out a living by becoming a ride-hailing driver either full or part-time. Regardless of which partnership turns out to be the more successful one, as long as it benefits the rakyat, it’ll do.


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