Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai urged Singapore to reconsider its decision to match the RM20 road charge that Malaysia imposed on 1 November last year.
Minister Liow told reporters after an event at Johor Bahru Tiong Hua Association that the countries have good ties. Therefore, he hopes that they Singapore will reconsider the decision.
He denied that Malaysia’s latest road charge discriminated against Singapore-registered cars, saying that the fee would be implemented at all border checkpoints in the country.
The New Straits Times quoted him as he said, “To say that there is discrimination against Singapore-registered cars is not true. We will eventually implement these charges on all foreign-registered cars entering via the Thai border, Kalimantan (Indonesian border) and the East Coast in the peninsula.”
“Singapore has been implementing its VEP (Vehicle Entry Permit) fee since 1973. But we (Malaysia) only implemented the road charge of RM20 last November,” he added.
Currently, Singapore imposes a S$35 VEP fee on foreign-registered cars entering the country. Each vehicle is given 10 free days a year and there are no charges during the weekends. Cars entering Singapore between 5pm and 2am from Monday to Friday are also exempt from VEP.
However earlier last week, Land transport Authority (LTA) announced that all foreign-registered cars will have to pay a Reciprocal Road Charge (RRC) of S$6.40 per-entry when they enter Singapore via the Tuas or Woodlands Checkpoint starting from 15 February 2017.
It noted that the RRC mirrors Malaysia’s Road Charge of RM20 per entry for non-Malaysia registered cars entering Johor, which was implemented on 1 November 2016.
LTA said that the RRC will be collected together with the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP), toll charges and fixed Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) fees upon departure at the Tuas or Woodlands Checkpoint.
The Minister wrote, “The Government has a long-standing policy of matching any levy, tolls or fees charged by Malaysia for using the road links between Singapore and Malaysia to ensure that Malaysia takes into consideration our response whenever they raise their tolls or introduce a new levy.”
“The road charge is collected each time motorists enter Malaysia via Touch n’ Go cards at the two land entry points in Johor, the Causeway and the Second Link,” he added.
He also noted that Malaysia collected about RM13.9 million in road charges from Singapore vehicles between 1 November and 20 December last year.
More than 250,000 commuters from Malaysia travel into Singapore via Malaysian registered vehicles on a daily basis and it is unlikely that the road charge will deter them from crossing the causeway as a large majority of the commuters are working in Singapore while living in Malaysia.