Singapore cars to pay new $6.70 charge to enter Malaysia; levy set to start Nov 1

SINGAPORE - In a few hours, that jaunt across the Causeway is going to cost a bit more. Starting at 12.01am on Nov 1, Singapore-registered cars entering Malaysia at the two land checkpoints including the Second Link will have to pay a new RM20 (S$6.60) levy, called a road charge.

Malaysia's Ministry of Transport confirmed with The Straits Times on Monday (Oct 31) that the road charge, which will apply at both the Causeway and Second Link crossings, will definitely kick off at the stroke of midnight.

The fee is on top of existing checkpoint tolls levied by both countries, which currently amount to about $13 for a round trip for a Singapore car going into Johor.The launch of the road charge has been repeatedly delayed, and was targetted to roll out as early as October last year (2015).

But it appears to be on track this time. Last Friday (Oct 28), Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai announced the launch date of the road charge on his Facebook page.

The Malaysian transport ministry said that officers from the Road Transport Department will be deployed Tuesday to assist drivers.

Motorists will pay for the RM20 charge using the stored-value Touch n' Go card, and there will also be Touch n' Go officers onsite to help drivers who have insufficient value in their cards, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, Singapore's Ministry of Transport said in a statement last Friday (Oct 28) that it will match the road charge "in some form", if the levy is found to discriminate against Singapore-registered vehicles.

Datuk Seri Liow told reporters a day after that there was no discrimination.

"We will impose the road charge not only at our border with Singapore, but also our borders with Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia with a similar charge of RM20 per car," he was quoted as saying in a Bernama news report.

Government and commercial vehicles, including those for public transportation, will be exempted from the levy.

Malaysia also has plans to implement a Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) requirement at the two land checkpoints with Singapore. The VEP scheme requires Singapore cars to register with Malaysia's Road Transport Department before entering.

Users will be charged a one-time fee of RM10 (S$3.30) to install a radio frequency identification (RFID) electronic chip which is valid for five years. A total of 144,000 vehicles have registered for the VEP as of July this year (2016).

Datuk Seri Liow said the start date of the VEP will be announced closer to the launch. He added that it will eventually apply to the other 10 road entry checkpoints into Malaysia, from Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia.

This article was first published on Oct 31, 2016.
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