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Grab reinstates suspended delivery rider amidst public outcry by Malaysians

Malaysian delivery rider, initially accused of brandishing a weapon during a fuel-siphoning dispute involving two Singaporeans, reinstated after Malaysians call for the popular cab-hailing app to be uninstalled

JOHOR BAHRU, MALAYSIA — A Grab food delivery rider, who initially faced suspension following an allegation that he brandished a screwdriver during an incident involving two Singaporean nationals pumping fuel into a jerrycan in Malaysia, has been reinstated by the company.

Despite the reversal in the decision, the initial action taken by the ride-hailing giant sparked a significant public backlash, with many Malaysians threatening to uninstall the Grab’s app.

The incident, captured on camera by the rider known as @matkibot on TikTok, took place last Friday (16 June) at a petrol station in Johor Bahru.

The viral video, which accrued over a million views and fifty-one thousand likes before being removed, depicted two auxiliary police officers attempting to quell a heated dispute between the two Singaporeans and @matkibot who was filming the two.

The Singaporean men were seen brandishing a chain lock and a stick-like object from their vehicle, demanding the deletion of the video and proclaiming their innocence.

Following the widespread circulation of the video, @matkibot shared on another TikTok video that he was suspended from his job as a Grab delivery rider, his sole source of income, on 21 June at 6 pm.

The 44-year-old man, originally from Seremban, had moved to Johor Bahru specifically to make GrabFood deliveries.

Despite the claims against him, the 44-year-old insisted that the CCTV footage would vindicate him.

“I filed a report on June 16 and Grab suspended me yesterday at 6pm,” he said. “They reported that I took out a screwdriver to fight, [but] there’s CCTV, they can check it.”

The food delivery rider said he stood firm as he was “in the right”, while saying that his source of income had been terminated by the two Singaporeans and alleged that one Singaporean man involved in the confrontation had made a false report.

“I made RM100, had to send RM50 for my wife and children’s meals, that’s how it is in Malaysia, it’s okay, I’m not defeated, not afraid, in the end, we will all die, that’s the fate of Malaysians,” he said in the video.

“That’s how we are in Malaysia, it’s okay, we don’t lose, we don’t fear, in the end we all die, that’s the fate of Malaysians.”

The report of the suspension sparked a wave of outrage on social media.

A Twitter user – linking to a Kosmo! article on the matter – questioned whether it was true that the rider had been suspended by Grab, stating that if it was indeed true, he would uninstall the Grab apps immediately.

This tweet went viral on Twitter among Malaysians, receiving more than 1.5 million views and over 12,000 retweets.

Apparently, Grab was caught off-guard by the public outcry and quickly had @matkibot reinstated.

@matkibot confirmed on 22 June via a new TikTok video that Grab’s investigation had concluded, finding him not at fault and thanked Malaysians for their support in calling for justice.

Grab also announced the rider’s reinstatement in response to the viral tweet.

“Hi all! We wanted to assure you all that we’re aware of this issue. We received various feedback and the teams had to do their due diligence to look into the matter. We are happy to say that we have reinstated him and we thanks for all the support for him. Hope this clarifies! 🙏

However, the move did not placate an irate public, with many continuing to voice their criticisms.

“‘Reinstated’ haiyaa… meaning it’s true..” said one user, implying that Grab’s response was insufficient.

“Nope! Not gonna reinstall your app. Goodbye, Grab,” said another user, demonstrating the prevailing sentiment among many Malaysians.

“The initial suspension is at fault. You’re stopping a Malaysian rider from feeding his family. How does Grab plan to compensate for his loss of income during that period? We Malaysians will uninstall Grab apps,” another added, pointing out the potential consequences of the company’s initial decision.

“I have done due diligence on Grab and decided to unsubscribe Grab Unlimited,” commented another user, signalling that the incident could have far-reaching impacts on Grab’s customer base.

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