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Saturday July 19, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday July 19, 2014 MYT 7:18:06 AM
by kash cheong
Bumper-to-bumper traffic: Heavy traffic can be seen along the lanes from Singapore to Johor Baru at the Causeway in this file picture.
SINGAPORE motorists, who will have to pay in the future to drive their cars into Johor, said the smaller proposed levy of RM20 (S$7.80) would make only a slight difference to how often they went across the Causeway.
But if the levy were RM50, another proposal, that would be a different matter.
At least one visitor among the 20 polled said she would probably stop going to Malaysia altogether if she had to pay RM50 to get in.
“The hassle of waiting an hour in the jam at immigration is just not worth it,” said Esther Koh, 57, who now goes to Johor Baru twice a month with family or friends to have a meal and buy groceries.
But for RM20, it is worthwhile, she said, as the savings from the lower prices there add up to more than RM20 each time she goes in.
On Wednesday, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said his Government had agreed to go ahead with a levy on non-Malaysian vehicles entering Johor.
He said the decision was made at the request of the state, which would receive a cut of the fees collected.
Most drivers here, however, see it as tit-for-tat to Singapore’s move to raise vehicle entry fees for foreign cars from Aug 1.
Details on how much Malaysia’s new levy would be and when it would start will be announced later.
One possibility is RM20, reportedly suggested by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
“Even with the proposed fee of RM20, it is only around S$7.80 for Singaporeans,” Malaysian newspaper The Star quoted Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong as saying.
“I do not think there is anything for them to worry about compared to the S$35 (RM89.70) vehicle entry permit charge to be imposed on foreign vehicles entering Singapore starting next month.”
Another proposal of RM50 was cited by State Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad earlier this month.
About a third of drivers polled here said they would cut back or consolidate their trips, even if the fee were RM20, so as not to accumulate a lot of charges.
Businessman Phil Chia, 44, said he would “consider carefully” if he needs to be in Malaysia for meetings. Now he goes twice a week to talk to suppliers or pick up goods for his signage business. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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