According To The Channel News Asia, “ starting Aug 1, the Vehicle Entry Permit fee for foreign-registered cars entering Singapore will be raised from S$20 to S$35 per day, while the Goods Vehicle Permit fee for foreign-registered goods vehicles will be raised from S$10 to S$40 per calendar month, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Tuesday (July 1).”
“The Vehicle Entry Permit fee increase only applies to foreign-registered cars and will not affect buses or taxis, the LTA said, adding that the fee for foreign-registered motorcycles will remain unchanged at S$4 per day.”
In retaliation, the Johor Government proposed to Putrajaya that we impose a levy on Singapore registered vehicles entering Johor. I have no intentions of either sugar-coating nor smoke-screening it because I assume everyone is intelligent enough to know that Malaysia made their decision very soon after the announcement by the Singapore government pertaining to the same matter.
Though it was a long time coming, we thank the Prime Minister who decided to agree with the proposal by the current Menteri Besar who seems to be more alert and brave in dealing with the City State compared to his predecessor.
I say it is a long time coming because as Chairman of the Complaints Bureau in the Pulai UMNO Division in 2002, I submitted a memorandum which included a proposal to impose a levy on Singapore vehicles to the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers' Club (Parliament), as published in the Utusan on 29th April 2002 (Yes folks! 12 years ago!!). It seems we make policies in reaction to Singapore's decisions and not from necessary suggestions made by alert local politicians.
Utusan Malaysia 29th April, 2002
(Important Note: Najib Was Not PM At The Time Of Submission).
There maybe skeptics or anti establishment freaks who argue that this is a wrong move because Malaysians who work in Singapore will be affected.
I’d like to assume that these Malaysians, though working in Singapore are still loyal citizens of this country who’ve enjoyed more liberty as Malaysians than Singaporeans in Singapore.
For instance, they are pressured to purchase Singapore registered vehicles to drive in the city state cheaply.
Let’s see how relaxed we are on our nationals.
While Singaporeans cannot drive Malaysian cars in Singapore and will be slapped with a hefty fine, we allow Malaysians to drive Singapore registered vehicles on Malaysian roads if it eases their purpose.
They pay road taxes to the Singapore government yet drive on Malaysian roads. They pay income taxes in Singapore, yet enjoy the cheap cost of living in Johor.
They cannot have it both ways.
Either they pay us a small sum while driving Singapore vehicles as a small compensation for using Malaysian roads or pay Singapore a high fee while driving Malaysian vehicles compensating Singapore for the same.
Here lies a Malaysian’s loyalty towards his more caring Nation.
They can’t benefit Singapore and themselves at the expense of the rest of the tax paying Citizens of Johor.
It is their choice either to work in Singapore and be loyal to Malaysia or be disloyal and use Malaysia as their “oxidation pond” while they enjoy their "meal” in the City State.
In other words, they are increasing the productivity of Singapore enriching them further being taxed but using Johor just as a "Rest House".
For those who think that we are compelled as this helps the economy of our City, let me remind you that our growth at this moment and the far future with the will of God, is inevitable and not a choice.
It is essential to realize that this policy is not aimed at Malaysians working in Singapore but for Singaporeans who come to Malaysia and use our infrastructure and facilities. The revenue collected will be used to maintain and upgrade our facilities not only for them but also for Johoreans.
An non-Johorean acquaintance from Kuala Lumpur even said "I totally agree with our government increasing tax rates on commercial vehicles that enter Singapore. It is not fair for Malaysians to bear the cost of building and maintaining roads for transporting of general goods and food for Singapore citizens, especially Thai based trucks. On top of that they are also using subsidised diesel to transport goods into Singapore.”
Since most of the Malaysians working there travel by motorcycle, perhaps the Singapore registered ones can be charged a nominal figure while those driving cars and heavier vehicles should be progressively charged higher as it is more likely that those driving cars are organic Singaporeans.
The elasticity of demand to enter Johor is high. Which means even with a charge of RM100 per entry, they will soon discover that it is still cheaper to drive in as the amount of Malaysian subsidy they enjoy and cheap shopping saves them several folds in return.
Furthermore, it’s not like they have a choice to drive to Batam or anywhere else for leisure.
On the flipside, if they do cut down on their trips, this will avoid unnecessary traffic in the already congested Johor roads and still increase our revenue, as we’ve never charged them such before.
Their government has imposed many measures to prevent their citizens from spending their Singapore Dollars in Johor, be it by ridiculously checking on their petrol indicator in their cars making sure that their tanks must be at least three quarters full on exit, to slowing down on efficiency and increasing the crawling and sometimes standstill traffic at the Singapore checkpoint on eves of public holidays.
Yet the flow still goes into Johor. It is like an addiction that cannot be prevented nor cured unless the Singapore government makes it illegal for their citizens to drive across. That’s a “cold turkey” that the people of Singapore will never bow to.
In Addition, They’ve Invested Billions Of Dollars In ISKANDAR Giving Them Much More Oxygen To Breathe On Compared To The Constricted Living And Business Space In The Small City State.
It’s Not Likely That They’ll Be Pulling Out Over A Nominal Fee To Enter Mainland Asia.
Bottomline: It Is A Brilliant Source Of Revenue Just Waiting To Be Had. And We Mustn’t Allow Singaporeans To Even Think That They Can Use Malaysian Workers In Singapore To Shield Them From Paying While They Exploit Our Hospitality At No Charge.