When Kempas assemblyman Datuk Tengku Putra Haron Aminurrashid Jumat suggested that the Federal Government charges a yearly fee of RM50 for road charge cards for Singapore-registered vehicles, he has a valid point. This fee should be on top of the VEP charge.
Taxpayers in Malaysia have been bearing the cost of road construction and maintenance in the country for the convenience of foreigners, as he pointed out.
“Nor is it fair for taxpayers to continue subsidising those working across the Causeway,”The Star quoted him as saying.
How much does it cost for a Malaysian to drive into Singapore? There is a daily Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fee of S$35 (RM105) for foreign-registered cars to be used in the island republic.
However, car drivers are entitled to 10 VEP free days per calendar year. The VEP operating hours are from 2am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.
In August 2014, Singapore raised its vehicle entry permit charges for foreign-registered cars from S$20 to S$35 per day, while the Goods Vehicle Permit fee for foreign-registered goods vehicles was raised from S$10 to S$40 per calendar month.
On top of the VEP fee, there is a toll charge of S$3.20 to be paid on arrival at the Tuas Checkpoint and S$2.70 at the Woodlands Checkpoint. Departure toll charges at the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints are S$3.20 and S$3.80 respectively.
When you drive into Singapore, you need Autopass card, which is a customised stored-value card issued to foreign-registered vehicles. The card can be used to pay VEP fees, toll charges, Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) fees on priced roads, and car park fees in some car parks.
If you fail to buy an Autopass card on entry, you can drive through the various checkpoints. You have to get one from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) office at 10 Sin Ming Drive, but there is a S$10 fine. If you fail to register your vehicle, a hefty fine awaits you at the departure point.
Singapore-registered cars are supposed to pay a VEP fee of RM20 beginning on July 16, but this has not been implemented due to system glitches.
Tengku Putra’s suggestion, if implemented, could spark another tit-for-tat response from Singapore.
The authorities in Singapore have said they would match any increase in Malaysia’s tolls. Its Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said this is to ensure Malaysia takes into consideration Singapore’s response whenever it plans to raise tolls.
He said Singapore has consistently advocated open and liberal transport links and connectivity with Malaysia. “The same principle will apply in our response to Malaysia’s impending road charge,” he was quoted as saying.
“If it discriminates against Singapore-registered vehicles, we will match it in some form. We will confirm whether and how we will respond, after Malaysia has implemented their road charge and the details become available.”
That did sound like a threat to up charges in Singapore over the impending introduction of VEP fees by Malaysia. We can’t have neighbouring countries dictate terms on how we operate through threats of retaliation.