JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Transport Ministry has called on its Singaporean counterpart to reconsider its decision to match Malaysia's road charge (RC) of RM20 (S$6.40) for foreign-registered vehicles entering the country from the republic.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai denied the road charge was discriminatory against Singapore-registered vehicles, pointing out that the republic had been charging Malaysian cars for the past 44 years.
"Singapore has been charging us since its Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) introduction in 1973, starting with S$10 and gradually increasing this to S$35 currently.
"It is only now that we have introduced the RC of only RM20, which is in line with our efforts to implement the Vehicle Entry Permit," he said on Friday (Jan 13).
He also clarified that there would not be any additional charge on foreign vehicles besides the RC when the VEP was fully implemented by mid-year.
The collection of the road charge at the two land entry points in Johor - the Causeway and the Second Link in Tuas - took effect in November.
On Jan 9, Singapore's Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Khaw Boon Wan told Parliament Singapore intends to match the road charge and will announce the details of this move soon.
Malaysia, he said, collected about RM 13.93 million in road charges from Singapore vehicles in the seven weeks from Nov 1 last year, when the road charge was introduced.
Mr Liow said owners of foreign-registered vehicles would only have to pay a registration fee of RM10.
"And we will also issue radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags," he said, adding that the VEP, including the RC, would be gradually implemented at all entry points along the border with Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia.
"We have good ties with the Singapore government. So, I hope that they will reconsider," he said.