Loopholes in regulations would allow a 20-year-old foreign work permit holder to compete with taxi drivers

By: Jahangir Ibrahim

It was announced in Parliament yesterday that Uber, Grab or other transport app drivers will be regulated soon. Like taxi drivers, they will need to get a taxi vocational licence and be subjected to the various LTA taxi regulations.

There is no minimum age as long as the drivers held a Class 3/3A driving licence for at least two years.

But the biggest caveat is, both PRs and work permit holders can now apply. They cannot be sole-proprietors however. All they need to do is to come under the umbrella of a transport company. That is to say, they must be employed by a company.

So, for example, a transport company can hire a work permit holder for $1,000 and give him a bit more commission to work as a ‘taxi driver’. No doubt, with the right incentives and the strong S$, the work permit holder will have no qualms working 12 hours a day voluntarily.

Previously, only Singaporeans can drive taxi as can be seen in LTA website.. Only Singaporeans above 30 years old can drive one:

• You must be at least 30 years old;
• You must be a Singapore Citizen holding a pink NRIC;
• You must have a valid Class 3/3A Singapore driving licence for a continuous period of at least one year at the point of application; and
• You must be able to speak and read basic English.

Now, a 20-year-old foreign work permit holder can also get into this trade. Indeed, the strong S$ has been attracting a lot of foreigners, especially those from third world countries, to come and work in Singapore.

Take for example, for an Indian national working in Singapore, S$1 can translate to Rs 50 for him to send home.

According to this news, the minimum wage for a municipal cleaner in Bangalore, one of the more expensive cities in India, is Rs 1,800 (S$36) per month. But because of constant collusion between cleaning companies and officials, the cleaners are only making Rs 800-900 (S$16-18) per month under inhuman conditions.

At S$1,000, this translates to Rs 50,000 per month, some 28 times (or 56 times unofficially) that of a cleaner’s wage in Bangalore. It’s no wonder that many third world nationals want to come and work in Singapore, even willing to put up with 12-hour work day, nevermind about flouting Singapore labour laws.

In any case, commuters should be prepared to be see more foreign ‘taxi’ drivers driving them in the near future.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s