Gojek driver in the viral ‘kidnap’ video allowed to drive pending LTA decision

The Gojek driver involved in the viral ‘kidnap’ video will be allowed to drive – for now.

Mentioning this to the Straits Times (ST) on Thursday (7 February), Kamaruzzaman Abdul Latiff said that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has given him the green light to drive for the ride-hailing company until “the decision is out”.

He said that the interview went well and he would wait for LTA’s decision on this matter. Earlier on the same day, he went for an interview with an LTA official at its Sin Ming Drive premises in relation to a 29 January incident.

Last Thursday (31 January), Mr Kamaruzzaman uploaded a seven-minute clip of a heated argument he had with a passenger, on the Go-Jek Singapore Community page. He said the female passenger was upset that he took the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries during the journey.

He added that during the interview with the authorities, he was asked what had happened before the recording, why he recorded the incident, why he had posted the video online and why he drove to the police station.

Responding to this, an LTA spokesman said it has requested to meet the passenger so it can have a fuller picture of the incident.

According to ST, it was reported earlier that LTA had sent a letter dated 4 February summoning Mr Kamaruzzam to an interview on Thursday for investigation after complaints were filed against him.

In the letter, the Gojek driver was asked to bring his NRIC, vocational licence, driving licence, as well as “the recording device, its recording and any other evidence”. The letter ended by stating that his attendance is compulsory under traffic rules.

“To get a more comprehensive understanding of the matter, LTA will need to meet up with both the driver and the passenger to hear their respective amounts of the incident,” LTA said in response to ST’s queries.

On the other hand, a Gojek spokesman had noted that the company is aware of LTA investigations, which it is cooperating with “on an ongoing basis”.

After the seven-minute video went viral, it appears that appeals for donations have been made “on behalf” Mr Kamaruzzaman. Once the driver found out this petition was seeking donation for him, he apologised for the “trouble” and posted on Facebook: “I was told someone is collection $4 donation of behalf of me”.

“(Please… please… please…) stop donating as I’m not aware of this and never asked (for) any donations or asked someone to do it for me,” he wrote.

Separately, when asked whether they would consider meeting to solve the problem, both the driver and the passenger, who wanted to be known only as Jovina, seemed not keen to the idea.

Mr Kamaruzzaman told that he had “no answer” to the question. “I am willing to forgive but I don’t think I can forget,” he added.

As for Ms Jovina, the 25-year-old responded via an e-mail and said that “there was no misunderstanding to begin with to be cleared”.

“I told the driver my destination and told him I do not wish to take the more expensive route. We did not come to an agreement in Bishan and I asked him to return me to pick-up point or drop me at any safe spot but he refused to drop me off while we were still in Bishan. The rides that I have taken have always not incurred ERP cost.”

She added that such a route ran from Bishan to 1 Coleman Street (via Thomson-Bugis).

Upon reading this news, netizens felt that it was good that Mr Kamaruzzam recorded the incident as it served as a good evidence for his case, and having a camcorder is essential.

Yeoh Henry wrote that it would be interesting to see how LTA is going to handle this case. He hopes LTA will do the right thing and “dispense justice”.

However, another Facebook user felt that Ms Jovina has all the right to explain her side of the story as it was not recorded. “It always take two or more persons to create a problem,” the user wrote.

On the other hand, both William Goh and Ben Teng expressed that the only mistake that the driver made was to upload the video online.