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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Malaysians working in S'pore HOPPING MAD at Johor tolls hike

M'sians working in S'pore HOPPING MAD at Johor tolls hike
Malaysia's move to raise tolls significantly at Johor's main border checkpoint and to impose a new charge for Singapore-bound vehicles have sparked an outcry among Malaysians who say the charge is burdensome to those who work across the Causeway in Singapore.
Last Friday, the Works Ministry, which is under the federal government, released a statement saying that from Aug 1, all vehicles, except motorcycles, that pass through the Johor Baru Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex, otherwise known as the Sultan Iskandar Building, will have to pay higher vehicle entry fees.
Currently, private cars entering Johor from Singapore pay a one-way charge of RM2.90 (S$1.13), irrespective of whether they are local- or foreign-registered. There is no charge for cars entering Singapore from Johor at the CIQ, which connects to the Johor-Singapore Causeway.
But now a two-way toll will be collected from next month. Cars passing through the CIQ will have to pay a total of RM16.50 for a day trip to Singapore or Johor and back - that is, a fee of RM9.70 will be charged while entering Johor and an extra RM6.80 will be charged on the way out.
Buses will have to pay RM13.30 per two-way trip while taxis will be charged RM8.20.
The move has got many Malaysians working in Singapore fuming, as they have to use the Causeway daily and, so, will be most affected by the hike.
Malaysian government statistics showed that last year, 297,445 commuters, out of which more than two-thirds were Malaysians and permanent residents of Malaysia, crossed the Johor-Singapore Causeway and the Tuas Second Link daily.
Ms Sarah Lee, 51, an accounts manager who has been working in Singapore for two decades, said the new charges are too steep.
"It is not like we citizens have a choice other than to drive, as the quality of public transportation here is still not good enough," she told The Sunday Times yesterday.
Technician Mr Mohd Khairul, 29, said he would go back to riding a motorcycle to work to save cost even though it is less safe. "Even if I carpool with colleagues, the travelling costs will still be too expensive for me," he said.
The new charges will be on top of another vehicle entry permit (VEP) fee, reportedly to be RM50, that the government will impose on Singapore-registered vehicles entering Malaysia via Johor Baru by the year-end.
The details of the implementation of this fee are still under discussion but the decision to impose it was announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak soon after Singapore announced it was raising VEP on foreign vehicles from $20 to $35 with effect from Aug 1. -Asiaone

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