Indonesian Gojek Riders Demonstrate Despite Apology by Big Blue Taxi Founder

Gojek riders during an earlier protest - Photo credit Reuters
  • More than 400 Gojek riders and Indonesians protested outside the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta yesterday.

  • The demonstrations were held to protests against the disparaging remarks made by Big Blue Taxi founder Dato’ Shamsubahrin Ismail in a video.

  • They demanded that Shamsubahrin travel to Indonesia to apologize publicly.

More than 400 Gojek riders protested outside the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta yesterday.

The demonstrations were held to protests against the disparaging remarks made by Big Blue Taxi founder Dato’ Shamsubahrin Ismail in a video. Shamsubahrin said that the e-hailing service is meant for “poor” people like those in Jakarta, Indonesia, besides Thailand and Cambodia.

“This (Indonesia) is a poor country. We (Malaysia) are a rich country. If Indonesia’s youths are any good, they would not leave their country to look for a job,” he said in the video.

The video was circulated all the way to Indonesia where it infuriated Gojek riders. Gojek spokeswoman Theresia Ismiyanti demanded that Shamsubahrin travel to Indonesia to apologize publicly.

Shamsubahrin held a press conference on 30th August to apologize but blamed a “media report” on poverty in Indonesia, instead. He also sent a letter to the Malaysian embassy in Indonesia. It was since handed to the Garda association of motorcycle workers by the Malaysian Police Attaché.

However, the riders and Indonesians were unsatisfied with the apology and continued their demand for Shamsubahrin to visit the country. They even raised funds for him to travel there.

Shamsubahrin spouted the claims when he protested against the government’s desire to allow Gojek to operate here. To his credit, he suggested that Malaysian-based Dego Ride should be given priority over Gojek.

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