Sunday, 1 October 2023

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Malaysian police seek two Singaporean suspects involved in Johor dispute

JOHOR BAHRU, MALAYSIA — Johor Bahru police are currently seeking two Singaporean men following a dispute with a food delivery rider at a petrol station in Sunway Iskandar township.

The incident, which occurred last Friday, was filmed by the delivery rider under the TikTok handle @matkibot and has since circulated widely on social media. The subsequent suspension of the rider by the ride-hailing giant Grab has sparked a considerable public backlash.

Iskandar Puteri police chief Rahmat Ariffin has announced that an investigation is underway under Section 506 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation.

“A misunderstanding occurred between the complainant and the two suspects. The suspects, identified as Singaporeans, were reportedly unhappy with the time the complainant took to fill up his motorcycle,” said Rahmat.

The police are now working closely with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to locate the two suspects.

The incident, captured and shared on TikTok by the Grab food delivery rider @matkibot, quickly went viral.

The video, which accrued over a million views and fifty-one thousand likes before being removed, showed two auxiliary police officers attempting to quell a heated dispute between the two Singaporeans and @matkibot, who was filming them filling up a jerrycan with fuel from a kiosk at the said petrol station.

The footage depicted the two Singaporean men engaged in a heated argument with the rider, brandishing a chain lock and a stick-like object. Despite lodging a police report, @matkibot decided not to pursue the matter further.

Suspension and reinstatement of delivery rider

In the aftermath of the incident, Grab initially suspended @matkibot, causing widespread public anger.

@matkibot, a 44-year-old man originally from Seremban who moved to Johor Bahru to deliver for GrabFood, maintained his innocence in a video posted on his TikTok account, claiming that CCTV footage of the incident would clear his name.

He stated, “I filed a report on June 16, and Grab suspended me yesterday at 6 pm. 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 suspension of @matkibot sparked extensive backlash on social media platforms. A tweet questioning the authenticity of Grab’s suspension and threatening to uninstall the app went viral, garnering over 1.5 million views and more than 12,000 retweets.

Numerous Malaysians threatened to uninstall the Grab app in protest against the company’s decision.

Amid the overwhelming public outcry, Grab reinstated @matkibot, acknowledging their hasty judgment in the matter.

The company stated, “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 thank everyone for their support.”

@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.

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

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