Cancel rally for our sake, cabbies tell Bersih organisers

(The Star) – Taxi drivers in the Klang Valley are pleading with the Bersih 3.0 organisers to cancel their proposed rally.

They claimed that 36,000 taxi and limousine operators would be affected if the rally went on.

Malaysian Taxi Drivers, Limousine and Car Rental Operators Association (Petekma) deputy president Syahrir Abdul Aziz said taxi drivers suffered losses during previous illegal rallies in the city due to traffic congestion.

“This will be the third time we are going to face the same problem if the Bersih rally is allowed to go on,” he said after lodging a report against the rally at the Dang Wangi police station.

“Please do not hold it at Dataran Merdeka or on the streets. It will cause traffic jams all over the city. We know this from experience,” he added.

Syahrir said taxi drivers could only bring home a profit of about RM60 to RM70 per day after deducting rental and other charges owed to their employers.

“Please pity us, we don’t earn much. They can hold their protest at a stadium.

“We understand that a stadium has been offered as a venue. They can go there for three days and three nights, it will not be a problem to us.

“In fact we can even earn money if they want us to drop them off at the stadium,” he added.

He also denied that the association was being pro-Government by not supporting the rally.

“We are pleading to Bersih organisers for the sake of our rice bowl,” said Syahir.

Yesterday, members of two other associations also handed a memorandum to Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail against the Bersih rally.

Federal Territory Bumiputra Traders Association president Datuk Rosli Sulaiman said business would be affected if the rally was allowed to proceed.

“Although it is a peaceful rally, it affects the livelihood of traders and taxi operators. It is their right to have the rally, but don’t cause problems for the ordinary people who are trying to make a living,” he added.