Johor vehicle entry fee could affect ties with Singapore, say traders

JOHOR BARU - Business associations have described Malaysia's proposed fee on foreign vehicles entering Johor through the Causeway and the Second Link as unwise.

Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SME) Association of Malaysia national president Teh Kee Sin suggested that Malaysia should consider a different approach.

"Of course, a RM20 (S$8), RM50 (S$20) or even RM100 (S$40) levy would be significant for the country's revenue, but it would not help strengthen bilateral ties," he told The Star yesterday.

Teh said the Government should instead concentrate on transforming Johor Baru into a more vibrant and lively space, which would then lead to economic growth.

"The authorities must understand that SMEs depend on Singaporeans from the low to middle income category for the bulk of their revenue, and if Malaysia imposes the fee, less of these people would come in to spend their money," he added.

Johor Indian Business Association (Jiba) president P. Sivakumar said that while charging RM20 (S$8) was acceptable, the Government should offer some flexibility.

"We should extend some goodwill by imposing the fee only during peak hours, or by reducing rates on weekends or public holidays for the benefit of genuine travellers," he added.

Malaysia's proposal is leaving folks like Danny Cheung, a sales executive at a plumbing company in Singapore, 35, caught in the middle.

"My friends and I thought that buying a Singapore-registered vehicle would mean saving on Singapore's Vehicle Entry Permit fee when entering the republic.

"Now there's another fee to pay when we re-enter Malaysia, I could be looking at spending an additional RM400 (S$160) per month," he said.

Sub-contractor Yap Chin Keong, 59, feels that the entry charge would be useful if it could reduce the number of Singaporean-vehicles entering Johor Baru.

"The charge is a good way to manage congestion as we sometimes get stuck for as long as two hours each way."

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