Transport Minister calls on ride-hailing apps to enforce tougher screening measures for drivers in light of Medan suicide bombing

A security camera footage showing suicide bomber Rabbial Muslim Nasution entering a police compound in Medan, North Sumatra before he acrried out a suicide bomb attack on Nov. 13, 2019. Photo: Istimewa via Liputan 6
A security camera footage showing suicide bomber Rabbial Muslim Nasution entering a police compound in Medan, North Sumatra before he acrried out a suicide bomb attack on Nov. 13, 2019. Photo: Istimewa via Liputan 6

Indonesia’s Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has called on ride-hailing apps Gojek and Grab to step up security measures when hiring drivers after a suicide bomber disguised himself as a motorcycle taxi (locally known as ojek online or ojol for short) driver to enter a police compound in Medan, North Sumatra and carried out the attack on Wednesday, injuring six people.

“We will ask the apps to draft new standards for the registration of new ojol drivers,” Budi Karya told Tempo in Jakarta yesterday.

“And, the apps must carry out evaluations on existing drivers.”

Budi Karya added that the ministry has been in contact with the ride-hailing apps and has given them a couple of days to enforce at least some of the government’s recommendations regarding driver screening.

Previously, both Gojek and Grab issued statements shortly after the suicide bombing to condemn the attack, and said that they would assist authorities in their investigation if necessary. Neither app has commented on Budi Karya’s call for tougher screening measures for drivers.

A recent report by Bisnis estimated that there are 2.5 million ojol drivers in Indonesia, which may suggest that stringent screening measures to become drivers are not yet in place.

The aftermath of the bombing

Police in Medan yesterday evening gave an update on their investigation into the suicide bombing, in which they said 12 people with links to the attacker, 24-year-old Rabbial Muslim Nasution, have been taken in for questioning. These include Rabbial’s parents, siblings, and neighbors. None of them have been charged.

Yesterday morning, police arrested Rabbial’s wife, who is identified by her initials DA. Police say she had been in contact with a convicted terrorist to plan a terror attack in Bali. 

Of the six injured victims — four of whom are cops and two are civilians — police said that their injuries are relatively minor, though some did require surgery. All are expected to make full recoveries, while the injured police officers have also received promotions, as is customary when an officer is wounded or killed in action.

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