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TRAVEL AGENTS CLAIM that limo hire companies have seen a downturn since Uber and GrabCar set up shop in the country.

Datuk Hamzah Rahmat, president of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) said: “One big and reputable tour operator’s monthly sales for chauffeur-driven services fell from RM500,000 to RM300,000 (£92,000 to £55,000) a month.

Chauffeur-driven services used to generate more than RM100 million annually and the government need to create a level playing field for the operators, for us to lower our cost of operations and to be as competitive as Uber and Grabcar.

“Unlike private vehicle owners, tour operators have high overhead costs, which include licences, permits and insurance, besides having to get their vehicles inspected every six months.”

The MATTA chief said that former government minister Tan Sri Wahid Omar was partly responsible for the problems of the country’s chauffeur trade because he had given his endorsement to Uber.

He added: “As a former parliamentarian involved in making laws, Wahid really should have known better.”

MATTA vice president Mr Jayakumar said that weak police action against touts had also hit the chauffeur trade: “There is a lack of enforcement on ride-hailing services using private vehicles.”

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