Friday, July 11, 2014
Singapore could tac but Johor not allowed to tic
On July 4th recently, new Transport Minister Datok Liow Tiong Lai was reported by media saying that government is studying the proposal by the Johor state government to impose a charge on foreign cars entering the Malaysian border through Johor Baru by RM20. [Read Today here]
That move is heard to have invited complains by Singaporeans and Malaysians driving SIngapore-registered cars, whose vehicles swarm the Johor Baru immigration checkpoint on weekends and also weekdays, except the morning and evening working day rush to and from Singapore.
Liow was overly considerate of Singapore in Johor's tic to the tac by Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) intention to raise the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fee for foreign-registered cars from S$20 to S$35 a day and Goods Vehicle Permit (GVP) fee from S$10 to S$40 a month from August 1st. [Details here]
Forwarders will be hit hard by Singapore's move [read Malay Mail Online here and NST here] but The Star quoted Liow saying, "However, this (the proposal by Johor) must be considered carefully as Malaysia has borders not only with Singapore, but with Thailand, Kalimantan and Brunei.”
Why must the MCA President be so concerned of Singapore access to these countries via Malaysia? Understood, he is merely concerned with the impact to other countries should we apply the same entry charges as applied to Singapore. Is that too difficult to figure out, Minister?
Not only none of the BN Members of Parliament or politicians are not vocal on this but moe important, our MCA Minister is too chicken to tic back the Singaporean's tic? Is our side of the border not congested by Singaporean vehicles?
A quick look at vehicles leaving and entering Johor Baru immigration checkpoint and one will realise that almost 90% of vehicles are Singapore registered.
The owner or driver of the vehicles could be Malaysian working in Singapore because Malaysian vehicles are restricted to only 10 entries into Singapore. The kiasu Singaporeans realised Malaysian cars are cheaper and Malaysians vehicles would be using or swarming Singapore roads and highways. Thus for the rule on Malaysian registered vehicles.
For RM20 charge on Singapore passenger cars to enter Johor Baru, that is hardly much when compared to Singaporeans charge of S$35 on Malaysian cars, which translates to RM91 or 4.5 times more for Malaysian passenger cars to enter Singapore than Singaporean passenger cars entering Johor..
With Malaysians hardly do much leisure traveling to Singapore, the charges paid translated to Malaysian ringgit are too drastic a move to further curb Malaysian vehicles congesting their side of the border.
The amount Singaporeans have to pay to enter Johor for weekend rest and recreation out of their pigeon holes should be significantly much more.
This blog here quoted Johor State Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman, Datuk Hasni Mohammad mentioning a figure of S$20 (RM50).
[Latest update 10 AM 12/7: Pemuda UMNO Johor's demand above for RM100.]
Even at that rate, it does not cover the cost and inconvenience the people of Johor Baru.
They had to endure the congestion not only at the causeway but the within Johor Baru city and Iskandar Malaysia which are more frequented by the rising number of Singapore registered vehicles.
The Singaporeans and Malaysians working in Singapore is having the best of both world.
They get Singapore salary and live in Malaysia for cheaps. Naturally, they do not pay their income tax and road tax to Malaysia but to Singapore.
They get to consume and buy Malaysian subsidised petrol and controlled food items. While it is acknowledged that it help the retailing sector in Johor Baru but the taxpayers had to absorb for the subsidy. Even so, a significant number of retailers at shopping complexes are Singaprean-owned.
In Malaysia, they get to use our more halaalan toyyiba tap water, which is not New Water as sourced directly from sewers and toilets as in Singapore.
The presence of Singaporean and Singapore money caused living quarters to be too expensive and beyond affordability of all Malaysians; Malay, Chinese, Indian or Ibans of Pasir Gudang. Perhaps charging Singaporean and Malaysian working in Singapore owning Singapore vehicle could help Johor state address this problem by building more rumah mampu milik than earlier planned.
An important point that need to be known and highlighted is that Malaysian government had to spend their own money or via privatisation to build infrastructure to addressed the traffic flow and congestion created by Singaporean vehicles.
The rationale for the aborted Scenic Bridge was to enable traffic from East and West and the ones coming and leaving Johor Baru Central Business District to flow.
It was Singapore that made a big hurrah and Dato Nazri Tan Sri Aziz and double crossing Tan Sri Gani Patail chickened Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi into cancelling. The current chaotic predicament at the Johor Baru business district was partly due to the cancellation.
Singapore kept benefiting themselves without consideration to Malaysia and Johor kept losing out. It is high time for Johor government make some money and rakyat of Johor benefit more from the flood of Singaporean in Iskandar.
After all, company tax on retailers benefiting from Singaporean business all goes to Kuala Lumpur, if they actually pay.
Do not talk about the toll at the Johor-Singapore Causeway paid to PLUS for RM2.90 to enter Johore Baru but not to return to Singapore. That is for use of widened causeway. It is pointless to raise issues on tolls for use of highways inside Singapore and inside Malaysia.
In another case, Singapore made a big complain on the land reclamation done by Johor at the second crossing. They are even going to the point of taking it to international court. [Read CNA here and MSN Malaysia here]
In early 2000, Singapore was reclaming land at Pulau Tekong that it is blocking water passage way and polluting the sea on our eastern side. [Read here and ABITW here].
And Malaysia did take them to international court.
That is both their tic for tat and an example of Singapore kept benefitting at expense of Johor but Johor could not do so.
It is high time that Johor and Johoreans not be halted from doing a tic-for-tac against the Singaporeans. Kuala Lumpur had decide on the fate of Johor for too long but Johor ended up being played around and the losing end to Singaporeans for too damn long.
Johor even lost Batu Putih island and soon as Tun Dr Mahathir said recently even Johor Baru will be lost to Singapore because of Kuala Lumpur's failure. The Singaporeans are already talking of the next acquisition in Batu Pahat as the next Iskandar. [Read here]
Another finger pointe at Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and Khazanah Nasional.
* Edited and updated 10 AM 12/7
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