Date
20 August 2017
Heavy traffic going to Singapore from Johor in Malaysia. The neighbors are engaged in a tit-for-tat over charges for vehicles crossing the Causeway. Photo: AFP
Heavy traffic going to Singapore from Johor in Malaysia. The neighbors are engaged in a tit-for-tat over charges for vehicles crossing the Causeway. Photo: AFP

Commuters to pay the price while Singapore, Malaysia quarrel

When Singapore raised the levy on foreign-registered vehicles visiting the island, Malaysia reacted by boosting toll charges on the Causeway linking the neighbors.

The city-state said it plans to match the toll-fare increase in the coming weeks. That could bring the additional cost to as much as S$25.60 (US$20) for a one-day round trip in a Malaysian car, Bloomberg reported Monday.

Commuters are going to be hurt in the pocket. 

“The public transport coming in, the private buses, they’re likely to raise their rate for the Malaysians riding in,” said Paul Lim, chief executive of security firm Soverus, where 100 Malaysian security guards account for 25 percent of his staff. “That’s going to increase the cost to my Malaysian workers.”

About 13,000 foreign-registered cars enter Singapore daily and 8,000 foreign goods vehicles enter the country every month, according to government data. Together with buses and motorcycles, they bring in workers, students, tourists as well as food and other supplies.

The vehicle entry permit for foreign-registered cars was raised to S$35 a day from S$20 by Singapore.

Malaysia’s toll increase involved a jump to 9.70 ringgit (US$3) from 2.90 ringgit in the charge for cars entering Johor state from Singapore.

“We’re just shooting ourselves in the foot by matching Malaysia’s policy move,” said Irvin Seah, a Singapore-based economist at DBS Bank. “We don’t need the additional revenue. It will have an impact on the economy.”

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RA/JL

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