Help the daily commuters to Singapore

I REFER to the recent statements to impose a levy on Singapore cars entering Malaysia.

I am a Malaysian living in Johor Baru with Singapore Permanent Resident status.

I work and commute daily by car with my family to Singapore.

Under Singapore traffic rules, a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident is not allowed to drive a foreign registered vehicle, hence I had to purchase a Singapore-registered car for my commute.

Singapore is one, if not the most, expensive country to own a car with the government discouraging car ownership by imposing a vehicle quota scheme.

The fees include registration fee, additional registration fee, preferential additional registration fee, excise duty, certificate of entitlement fee (COE) and road tax.

In simple comparison, a Proton Exora which would cost approximately RM$85,000 (SG$33,500) in Malaysia would cost SG$130,000 (RM$332,000) in Singapore.

This is inclusive of a 10-year certificate of entitlement (licence to use for 10 years) which needs to be “renewed” after 10 years of ownership should you wish to continue using the car.

The current price for a 10-year COE for a vehicle in the 1,600cc category is SG$62,000 (RM$158,000). Should you not wish to renew the COE and “scrap” the car after 10 years, you only get back a small fraction of the amount paid.

In other words, you never really “own” a car in Singapore, just a “licence” to use it for a certain period.

The recent hike of Vehicle Entry Permit fees (levy) by the Singapore authorities to SG$35 on Malaysian registered cars entering Singapore is to “level” the amount incurred by Singapore car owners against the Malaysian registered car owners to make it more equitable.

This is targeted mainly at the Malaysian Work Permit and Employment Pass holders who are allowed to drive their Malaysian registered cars to work in Singapore.

The current levy of SG$20 on these drivers has been in place for a long time whereas the price of car ownership in Singapore has gone up three-fold in the last couple of years.

The levy is only applicable during peak periods on weekdays and ends at 5pm weekdays and free on weekends and public holidays.

The levy hours are also shortened during the month-long July and November/December school holidays, ending at midnight on weekdays.

All Malaysian cars are not charged entry fees during these “off peak” periods and are also given 10 days of free entry per year.

Malaysian daily commuters, like me, who drive Singapore-registered cars are now likely to be further burdened by the levy to be imposed by the Malaysian Government.

We chose to stay in Malaysia mainly because of our family roots, affordability and national belonging.

It is not easy to commute daily to Singapore, with most departing their households by 4am and only getting back at 10pm. An average waiting period of about four hours in the jam is the norm.

Some 300,000 people and 130,000 vehicles pass through the checkpoints every day, making this one of the busiest border crossings in the world.

Our hard-earned money is mainly spent in Malaysia and brings huge economic benefit to the country.

Due to the high cost of owning a Singapore-registered car, most of us only own one car and despite being Malaysians, we are not allowed to fill our vehicles with subsidised RON 95 fuel in Malaysia.

This adds a tremendous cost as most of our commute is not just to Singapore but also to take road trips with our family throughout Malaysia, especially during the holidays.

Ironically, Singaporeans who take up the Malaysia My Second Home scheme are exempted from paying excise duty and sales tax on Malaysian assembled cars.

They also get to fill up on subsidised RON 95 fuel since their

cars have Malaysian number plates.

Commuters like me who travel daily to Singapore with our families are also deterred from taking the public buses due to the extreme human crunch occurring daily on these buses.

I propose the setting up of a community or organisation open to membership for daily commuters like me who travel to Singapore daily.

These would enable us to collectively speak with one voice and put forward our grievances more effectively.

Most our us are true blue Malaysians who love our country dearly and humbly ask to be fairly treated in any new government initiative.


Johor Baru