JOHOR BARU • All foreign-registered vehicles entering Malaysia will soon require a vehicle entry permit (VEP), on top of being subject to the RM20 (S$6.40) road charge (RC), Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai has announced.
He said the VEP would cost RM25, and be valid for five years, according to The Star daily.
He added that the RC - now imposed only on vehicles entering from Singapore - would also apply to the northern border with Thailand, either by the end of this year or early next year. "We will implement the VEP and the RC at border entries between Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia, for cars coming into Sarawak from the two countries at a later stage," he said.
Datuk Seri Liow said foreign vehicle owners paying the VEP would be issued a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag to be placed on their windshields.
"The VEP will help us to identify the number of foreign vehicles entering Malaysia and also to prevent car theft and car cloning syndicates," he said after attending an inauguration ceremony on Sunday.
He added that the RFID tag could eventually be used to pay the road charge as well, as an alternative to the Touch 'n Go system.
The road charge was implemented at the Johor Causeway and the Second Link Crossing in Tanjung Kupang, Gelang Patah, last November.
What the charges amount to
Malaysia's new Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) at the border with Singapore will add to the cost for those driving into the country.
The RM25 ($8.05) VEP - which will be valid for five years - will be on top of the RM20 Road Charge per entry.
Foreign cars entering Singapore are also paying a similar amount as a road charge after the government said it would match the fees implemented by Malaysia.
Singapore's reciprocal charge is being collected with the Republic's VEP as well as toll charges for the two crossings at the Causeway and the Second Link, 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.
But Singapore's VEP does not apply on weekends, public holidays and after 5pm to before 2am on weekdays. Motorists get 10 VEP-free days each year.
Singapore responded to the levy by imposing a similar fee from February at the two border entry points. The move was in line with earlier government pronouncements that the Republic would match similar fees implemented by Malaysia.
But Bernama news agency, quoting a statement by the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, said in January that the Republic would remove its reciprocal road charge once Malaysia implemented its charge at all its borders, including Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia.
The statement also noted that Singapore's VEP policy, in place since 1973, was meant to equalise the cost of owning and using foreign-registered vehicles in Singapore, with that of owning and using Singapore-registered vehicles.
It said the move was in line with Singapore's vehicle population control policy, noting that there should be restraints to using foreign vehicles on the Republic's roads as there were for Singapore vehicles, which were subject to the certificate of entitlement system and high vehicle taxes.
Hence, the intent of the VEP policy was different from that of Malaysia's road charge, it said.
It also noted that only one of 10 foreign-registered vehicles that enter Singapore pays Singapore's VEP. Most do not do so as they enter during VEP-free days or hours.
Singapore's VEP does not apply on weekends, public holidays and between 5pm and 2am on weekdays. Motorists also get 10 VEP-free days each year.