The government is offering 4,000 vocational Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licences for free to the B40 group through the MyPSV programme, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
He said of that number, 3,500 PSV licences were for e-hailing and taxi drivers, while the remaining 500 were for PSV bus drivers and involved an allocation of RM2 million.
Loke said the initiative, besides helping the B40 group, who have to bear the cost of RM2,590 to obtain a PSV bus license, was also introduced to meet the needs of the transport industry which is experiencing a chronic shortage of bus drivers.
"The country needs thousands of bus drivers, not only by Prasarana (Malaysia Berhad) but also express bus and stage bus companies in the country.
"I am made to understand that some express bus companies are experiencing a shortage of drivers and one of the factors that do not attract people to become bus drivers is because of the low salary," he said after launching the national-level MyPSV Programme 2023 in Batang Kali today.
Loke said the initiative was part of the government's responsibility and commitment to open up opportunities and space for the people to improve their socioeconomic status and household income through job opportunities in the public transport service sector.
"This programme will also directly support and improve the survival of the public transport and tourism sectors in the country," he added.
He said the MyPSV programme could help to produce competent and safe bus, taxi and e-hailing drivers as the eligible applicants would be required to undergo training and tests to ensure their competence before being issued the PSV Vocational Licence and allowed to drive public service vehicles.
Candidates under the MyPSV bus programme are required to attend the vocational theory course, training and practical test (covering circuits and roads) equivalent to the existing regulations, while candidates under the MyPSV e-hailing programme only need to attend the e-hailing theory course, he added.
Meanwhile, when asked about a commotion that involved a minister at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) recently, Loke said the entry process for foreign tourists, especially at KLIA, will be improved because it involves security issues.
This is because the government also wants to make Malaysia a tourist-friendly country, he added.