Singapore willing to lift road charge when Malaysia imposes toll at Thai border

Singapore willing to lift road charge when Malaysia imposes toll at Thai border
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Singapore will lift its Reciprocal Road Charge of S$6.40 (RM20), which will start from Feb 15, once Malaysia imposes its Road Charge (RC) at the Thai border.

The matter was conveyed to Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk Ilango Karuppannan by the republic's Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

Singapore has always viewed the implementation of RC in Johor as being targeted at vehicles from the island state, saying that Malaysia was being selective in imposing the charge as vehicles coming through its other border were exempted from it.

In an interview here, Ilango said he was informed by Khaw that the republic would lift its charge once Malaysia starts to implement the RC at the Thai border.

"They see the RC as a type of toll collection and they will match it whenever Malaysia increases the toll charges at the Causeway or Second Link," he said.

Ilango said Singapore had been informed that it was for all foreign-registered vehicles and not just Singaporean.

Asked whether the increase by Singapore came as a surprise, Ilango said its government had already stated that it would match the charges when the RC was implemented.

He said Singapore implemented its vehicle entry permit (VEP) in 1973 while Malaysia only just started it last year.

"Anyway, it makes sense for Malaysia to charge foreign vehicles the RC, especially for the maintenance, and wear and tear of our roads," Ilango said.

Asked about the impact of the RC on Malaysians, he said only those driving Malaysian-registered cars would be affected, as there were also many Malaysians who were driving Singapore-registered cars to avoid the existing VEP.

He said 105,000 to 110,000 Malaysians commuted between Johor and Singapore daily with a majority of them riding motorcycles.

Singapore's Land Transport Authority announced that from Feb 15, all foreign-registered cars will have to pay an RC of S$6.40 when they enter Singapore via the Tuas or Woodlands checkpoint.

The new charge mirrors Malaysia's RC of RM20 per entry for foreign-registered cars entering Johor, which was implemented last November.

The Land Transport Authority said the RC would be collected together with the VEP, toll charges and fixed Electronic Road Pricing fees upon departure at the Tuas or Woodlands checkpoint.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he welcomed Singapore's decision to lift its Reciprocal Road Charge if Malaysia also implements it at its other entry points bordering Thailand.

Liow stressed that the move was not meant to discriminate Singaporeans.

He said Malaysia was looking at implementing it at the Thai border possibly by middle of this year.

Malaysia began to impose the RM20 RC at the Causeway and Second Link since Nov 1. In response, Singapore announced that it would also enforce a Reciprocal Road Charge of S$6.40, on top of the VEP of S$35 (RM109).

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