Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Singapore matches Malaysia's road charge of $6.40 for all foreign-registered cars from 15 Feb 2017

Foreign-cars to pay reciprocal road charge when entering Singapore: LTA
New entry charge for foreign cars from Feb 15
Amount mirrors Malaysia's fee and applies at Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints, says LTA
By Christopher Tan, Senior Transport Correspondent, The Straits Times, 17 Jan 2017

Foreign cars entering Singapore will be levied a new entry charge from Feb 15, in line with earlier government pronouncements that the Republic will match similar fees implemented by Malaysia.

In an announcement yesterday, the Land Transport Authority said a reciprocal road charge of $6.40 per entry will apply at both the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints. It said the fee mirrors Malaysia's road charge of RM20 (S$6.40) for non-Malaysia registered cars entering Johor that was implemented on Nov 1 last year.

On Jan 9, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan told Parliament that Singapore intends to match Malaysia's road charge.

He pointed out that Malaysia collected about RM13.93 million in road charges from Singapore vehicles in the seven weeks from Nov 1.

Singapore's reciprocal charge will be collected with the vehicle entry permit (VEP) and toll charges for the two crossings, which can amount to as much as $41.50 for cars. During Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) hours, foreign cars without an in-vehicle unit are also levied a fixed ERP charge of $5 a day.

VEP does not apply on weekends, public holidays and after 5pm to before 2am on weekdays.

The new charge translates to a cost increase of at least 14 per cent for Malaysian drivers entering Singapore. However, housewife Noraini Mokhtar, 48, said it is unlikely to make a huge dent on cross-border commutes. "If you have to go, you have to go," she said.

The Johor Baru resident, who said she comes to Singapore about once every fortnight to settle personal matters, noted that the new charge will not affect her much.

But Malaysian businessman Prasad Natyala, 64, who has an office in Singapore, said: "Both governments have done nothing to improve traffic flow at the crossings - you can get stuck at the Causeway for two to three hours - yet they want to charge ordinary citizens who contribute to the economies of both countries more."

Mr Natyala, who lives in Johor Baru and commutes to Singapore two to four times a week, added: "I hope they will come to their senses."

However, SIM University economist Walter Theseira said Singapore's reciprocal charge should be seen as "encouraging the Malaysian authority to bear in mind the consequences of its actions on its own citizens" when it introduces any foreign levy. "As a sovereign state, we have to take a stand," he said. "We must not be seen as an easy source of revenue."

Veteran transport consultant Bruno Wildermuth, however, said "Malaysia had every right to make Singaporeans share in the cost of using its infrastructure".

"We (Singapore) have been charging them (Malaysians) for more than 25 years for using ours. Why should we get a free ride?"

PARLIAMENT: Singapore to match Malaysia's foreign vehicle road charge
By Zhaki Abdullah, The Straits Times, 10 Jan 2017

Singapore will match the RM20 (S$6.40) road charge that Malaysia has imposed on foreign vehicles since Nov 1 last year, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in Parliament yesterday.

He also said drivers of Singapore-registered vehicles entering Malaysia via Woodlands and Tuas paid an estimated RM13.9 million in road charges between Nov 1 and Dec 20.

He was replying to Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC), who asked for an estimate of the road charges paid by drivers of Singapore-registered vehicles, as well as whether Singapore plans to impose similar charges in the near future.

Details of the matching charge will be announced soon, said Mr Khaw, adding that Singapore has a "longstanding policy of matching any levy, tolls or fees" imposed on vehicles crossing into Malaysia.

"This is to ensure that Malaysia takes into consideration our response whenever they raise their tolls or introduce a new levy," he said.

Mr Ang also asked whether the number of vehicles entering Malaysia had gone down significantly since the charge came into effect.

Mr Khaw said there has been no noticeable drop, noting that the levying of the charges coincided with the year-end holiday period.

He added that most of the vehicles crossing at the checkpoints were motorcycles, to which the road charges did not apply.

Reciprocal road charge on foreign-registered vehicles from 15 February 2017
What is the difference between Singapore's Vehicle Entry Permit and Malaysia's Road Charge?

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