Singapore-registered vehicles entering Johor will have their road charge waived for 7 days starting April 1

The waiver is being allowed as those in Singapore have not been able to enter Malaysia to top up their Touch ‘n Go cards.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

SINGAPORE - Singapore-registered vehicles entering Johor will not have to pay the RM20 (S$6.45) Road Charge for seven days, starting from Friday (April 1) when the two neighbouring countries reopen their land border after two years.

Malaysia’s Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong made the announcement in a statement on Monday (March 28), and said the move will give motorists the opportunity to top up their Touch ‘n Go cards in Johor, or register for Malaysia’s Vehicle Entry Permit scheme.

Singaporeans and Singapore residents have not been able to enter Malaysia to top up their Touch ‘n Go stored value cards, which are used to pay for the road charge. Others may have cards that have expired.

Stocks of Touch ‘n Go cards in Singapore have also mostly sold out as motorists scrambled to get new ones.

Official retailer 7-Eleven said its stock of cards ran out last Friday night, while local online payment provider EZ-Link - which provides an alternative EZ-Link x Touch 'n Go Motoring card - said its cards have been sold out at certain convenience stores.

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Both types of cards, which cost $10 each, are expected to be replenished at physical stores from early April.

EZ-Link will sell its card on its official Shopee store from 1pm on Tuesday, and said selected Cheers outlets around the Woodlands Checkpoint will have stocks of its cards from Friday.

SPC, Caltex and Sinopec petrol stations are expected to start offering these EZ-Link cards later as well, it added.

In the meantime, resellers have appeared on various e-commerce platforms such as Carousell, Lazada and Shopee to capitalise on the shortage.

The offers vary from selling the Touch 'n Go cards with only a RM10 (S$3.20) deposit and no stored value for $19 on Lazada and Shopee to $36 on Carousell.

Others sell them pre-loaded, including one listed at $95 for RM50 value.

Since Monday, some of the listings were updated to "out of stock" as the cards have been sold.

Valid cards with sufficient values are required as toll plazas in Malaysia stopped accepting cash payments since 2017.

Although the Touch 'n Go card has a 10-year lifespan, it becomes dormant and cannot be reactivated if left unused for 12 months. The majority of cards in Singapore would no longer be active, given that the borders have been closed since March 2020.

The card can be topped up only in person at specific outlets in Malaysia, though a workaround is to register it on the Touch 'n Go eWallet app and activate the "PayDirect" feature.

While the physical card is still needed for toll payment in such instances, the value will be deducted from the phone app.

On its website, Touch 'n Go dissuades consumers from getting the cards from unauthorised online sellers as the cards will not qualify for the company's refund policy.

Consultant Ken Koh, 49, used to go to Malaysia regularly for grocery shopping and family outings. He is likely to wait for a month or two before driving to Malaysia again.

"There seems to be some uncertainties about the procedures about clearing customs at this point, so I will wait for the dust to settle. I am definitely not going to pay the Touch 'n Go resellers for a card now," he said.

This article was first published in The Straits TimesPermission required for reproduction.