After two years since it’s intended implementation was first announced (please also see related posts ‘Malaysia, Singapore, Johor and the VEP’ (https://meandpolitics.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/of-malaysia-singapore-johor-and-the-vep/) as well as ‘VEP : An Act of Sabotage?’ (https://meandpolitics.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/the-vep-an-act-of-sabotage/)), the never-ending saga of the implementation of the VEP (or Vehicle Entry Permit) for all foreign-registered cars entering Malaysia is finally over.
Or is it?
To understand the implementation of the program a lot better, a look at the JPJ website at https://vep.jpj.gov.my states that :-
- ALL foreign –registered vehicles are to register with Road Transport Department (RTD or more commonly known by its Bahasa Malaysia acronym, JPJ). When registering the vehicles the vehicle owners have to produce the necessary documents eg proof of car ownership, insurance etc etc,
- once registered with the JPJ, these vehicles will be issued non-transferable RFID tags. These RFID tags contains pertinent information with respect to the registered vehicle, and
- these RFID tags are valid for 5 YEARS
And all these for a processing fee of RM10 (circa RM2.50 or SGD3.30, take your pick).
Once these vehicles are registered and issued the RFID tags, these cars are then permitted to enter the country at any time during that five (5) years the VEP is valid for.
On entering the country, these VEP-registered vehicles are charged a fee called the ROAD CHARGE (RC). The RC is ….wait for it, RM20 (Yes, its RM20 only) and is charged PER ENTRY (Yes, its PER ENTRY).
The proceeds from the RC is used to offset road maintenance costs, amongst other things.
After SO MANY DELAYS since its intended implementation was first announced in July 2014 by the Prime Minister himself, the system was finally and officially implemented on 1 November 2016, at the southern entry points of Johor Bahru (at the Causeway) and Gelang Patah (The Second Link).
And even that, it is not yet the finished article as there are exemptions, for one reason or another, currently in place for motor vehicles, government and diplomatic vehicles, as well as public transportation. It has been announced that some of the exemptions will be lifted while some of them will remain in place.
Now that it’s finally up and running, Malaysians have now to contend with the implied threat of retaliation from the Singapore government IF the system that Malaysia implemented is deemed to be discriminatory against Singapore, as reported by Singapore media.
Judging by the tone of the statement…… well, you know where its leading to. (Knowing which member of the Singapore media reported it will indicate to you that it is very very near and most likely to be an official stance of the government of Singapore.)
Come again? Does that mean that the sovereign government of Malaysia is being threatened with retaliation from Singapore for implementing a system designed to monitor and control traffic entering Malaysia? Like I said earlier, come again!?
It is public knowledge that ALL foreign-registered vehicles entering Singapore has to register with the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA), with supporting documents (but of course).
Upon registering, a plastic card called the AUTOPASS is issued to the owners of these foreign-vehicles. One vehicle, one AUTOPASS.
The AUTOPASS basically controls the entry of your vehicle into Singapore and upon exit, tells you how much you have to fork out for driving on the roads of Singapore, what with the different gantries and charges and the likes.
Upon exiting, it is best to make sure your AUTOPASS has enough credit to pay for all these charges including the VEP (that is if you have used up your free quota of 10 days a year and that it’s not a weekend or a Singapore public holiday or not between the hours of 6pm to 6 am (I think)), otherwise you will be fined an additional sum of money for not having enough credit to begin with, all of which has to be paid PRIOR to exit.
But just how much is the Singapore VEP?
Last I checked, its SGD35 (RM105 or USD25 thereabouts) for private vehicles and SGD40 (RM120 or USD30 thereabouts) for commercial transport vehicles. That was when the then VEP rates were increased from SGD20 and SGD10 in August 2014.
Since then, I have not checked and it has been a long time since I checked.
Looking at them Singapore VEP rates, I guess that’s why my Malaysian friends who work in Singapore drive to work in Singapore-registered vehicles. Otherwise, they will be contributing more to Singapore that what they get paid by working in Singapore.
I mean, 10 VEP-free days can only go so far and people do work for more than 10 days in a year and yes, I do believe people work to get paid and not pay to work.
It works out for the betterment of the Singapore economy I guess. Auto traders have a business where people buy and sell cars, both new and second-hand. That plus the 10-year ruling, of course.
Workshops in Singapore too would be gainfully employed, with repair and servicing jobs. Otherwise, there might be one less economic activity in Singapore and lots more people with lots of idle time on their hands.
Now if the Singapore authorities want to ‘retaliate’ and ‘match’ Malaysia’s actions for daring to do what it just did, by all means, IF that ‘retaliation’ means that the Singapore VEP is reduced to the RM-equivalent of RM20 per entry.
But in all honesty, I seriously doubt that the Singapore authorities will ever reduce the VEP rates. Increase, yes. Reduce, hhmmmm. But miracles have been known to happen.
In the same tone, Malaysia can also claim that when Singapore implemented their VEP, it was discriminatory against Malaysia. I mean, is there any other country which has land links to the island? And was Malaysia ever consulted? What are the odds of that ever happening? Be consulted that is. And will it ever happen in the future? Your answer is as good as mine.
But seriously folks, is the Singapore government making a mountain out of RM20 per entry? IT IS PER ENTRY, you know. And the maximum a Singapore-registered vehicle or any foreign-registered vehicle for that matter, can stay in Malaysia is three (3) months. That’s theoretically RM0.22 (USD0.05, SGD0.07) per day for the maximum 90 days. Not even the price of a French fries at the neighbourhood McD, I would suggest.
And three months is definitely far longer than the period a FOREIGN national is permitted to come in and stay in Malaysia. Just have a look at your Singapore passports.
Being kiasu does have its limits you know. It may be the accepted norm in Singapore but when dealing with another country who is no less sovereign and independent than you are (as you would like to impress upon everybody), too much kiasu and it’ll border on being ridiculous, never mind offensive.
Thing is, no one’s laughing.