Malaysia’s nonagenarian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is never one to shy away from controversy – it was just last week when he found himself at the center of a #BoycottMalaysia social media maelstrom following a speech on the future of Jammu and Kashmir at the United Nations in New York.
However, he’s taken a step back on home turf, following Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq’s comments on a boycott of food delivery service Foodpanda, following revisions they made to driver payment.
Speaking at a press conference in Parliament today, Mahathir told the media scrum that the matter was not discussed in Cabinet, was not the government’s official stand, and that it was the young minister’s personal opinion.
“Maybe he has a reason for that statement,” he said diplomatically.
Others, characterized his choice of words far more cynically.
So, the PM threw YBM KBS under the bus? https://t.co/k62y0EyNuW
— The Professor (@ainulaizat) October 8, 2019
Syed tweeted yesterday that the German-based delivery service was taking advantage of their drivers.
Sebagai #Yangberkhidmat,saya dipilih oleh rakyat & boleh dihukum oleh rakyat.
Sebagai korporat, mereka dibangunkan oleh pekerja/pengguna, & boleh dijatuhkan oleh pekerja/pengguna.
Keangkuhan bukan jalan penyelesaian.
Hanya sokong korporat yang adil kepada pekerja & pengguna. https://t.co/js93ZiqPoe
— Syed Saddiq (@SyedSaddiq) October 7, 2019
“Arrogance is not the solution. Only support corporations which are fair to workers and consumers,” he wrote.
His unbridled commentary follows a revision to the brand’s payment scheme for drivers outside the Klang Valley that started in earnest this month, affecting 30% of their 13,000-strong delivery fleet. Gone were the driver’s hourly base payment, and in came a per-delivery replacement.
— Kamles Kumar (@Kama7esh) October 1, 2019
Previously, drivers were paid an hourly rate, and between RM3 – RM5 (US$0.70 – US$0.80) per order. Now, the app has removed their base payment, and replaced it with a slight increment of RM4 – RM7 (US$1 – US$1.75) per order. If an order is made between the late-night hours of 11pm and 9am, a driver will get an extra RM1 (US$0.25). If 60 hours of work are completed weekly, riders will get an RM100 (US$25) bonus.
— Siggtanirrajim (@_siggplus) October 8, 2019
While maths are certainly not our strong-suit (we’ve always been artistically inclined, if you catch our humanities drift), it certainly does sound like drivers are getting the short end of the delivery stick.
Riders would have to be guaranteed 275 delivery trips per month just to make minimum wage (RM1,100/US$260)), which some might argue is not actually a living wage. Ahem.
Many riders have been seen protesting the new payment scheme over the last week, preceeding the Sports Minister’s show of solidarity.