Grab hires Indonesia’s ex-top cop to smooth government relations
Grab got itself a powerful new friend. The ride-hailing startup competing with Uber in Southeast Asia earlier this week introduced Indonesia’s former top cop Badrodin Haiti as head of the board of the company’s Indonesian branch.
Haiti, who was the national police chief before retiring last year, now carries the title of president commissioner of Grab Indonesia. That’s a role similar to what’s known as the chairman of the board elsewhere.
He’s expected to advise the company in Indonesia, specifically on legal compliance.
Haiti’s guidance will help the company adhere to prevailing laws and regulations even as it grows, said Ridzki Kramadibrata, managing director of Grab Indonesia.
While Indonesia’s ministry of transportation has accepted ride-hailing and devised a legal framework for how companies in this space are allowed to operate, some issues remain.
Achieving compliance with the rules requires obtaining licenses and conducting vehicle checkups – a slow process that’s costing companies like Grab and Uber money and patience.
A leniency period, during which non-compliant cars would be tolerated, was initially set to end in October 2016 but was extended for another six months because too many cars were still waiting to be processed.
There are also disputes between local transportation providers and ride-hailing startups, especially in regions further away from the central government in Jakarta. In Bali, for example, local independent drivers living in certain neighborhoods told Tech in Asia that they’ve put up large anti-Uber or anti-Grab signs at the side of the road to prevent these firms from picking up passengers in their territories.
To solve these and other issues, Grab needs high-profile people pulling strings on its behalf. Its moves remind us of how Uber built its advisory board of international power brokers.
Grab, headquartered in Singapore, began adding stars to its rank-and-file last year.
It appointed Ming Maa, an executive at its main investor, Japan’s SoftBank, as president of the regional operation to “drive corporate development activities, including strategic partnerships and investment opportunities.”
In Indonesia, Badrodin Haiti is expected to draw from his experience of 35 years of law enforcement to help smooth Grab’s relations on national and regional levels. Before getting the national police chief title, he also served as head of police in several provinces, like Central Sulawesi and East Java. According to Ridzki, Haiti was also directly involved with managing and developing regulations on road traffic management.
Caption: Badrodin Haiti, former chief of Indonesia’s national police.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad