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Singapore Drivers Going to Malaysia versus Malaysian Drivers Coming to Singapore – Who Pays More?

singapore johor causeway toll

Peter Lin

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A favourite pastime of many Singaporeans is heading north to visit our neighbours in Johor over the weekend to enjoy relatively cheap shopping and delicious food, not to mention the cheaper petrol costs. On the other side of the Causeway, we have Malaysians who drive over to Singapore for work meetings, attend school or spend time with family. But thanks to increasing charges for motorists from both countries to visit the other, this might soon be a thing of the past.

 

Why have charges for travelling across the Causeway increased?

Depending on who you ask, it probably started in July 2014, when Singapore raised the Vehicle Entry Permit, or VEP, fee for Malaysian cars from S$20 to S$35, a steep 75% increase. In response, Malaysia said they would implement a VEP of their own, but since it would take a while to implement, first raised toll charges from RM2.90 for just entering Johor, to RM16.50 in total for a round trip, an increase of almost 470%!

Okay la, I’m just putting in percentages for fun. Because honestly in 2014, Malaysian cars had to pay about S$20 more per entry to Singapore, since they were also affected by the increased tolls. On the other hand, Singapore cars were only paying about S$5 more, a much smaller amount. And with the Malaysian Ringgit weakening against the Singapore dollar over the past two years, we’re actually only paying slightly over S$10 for a round trip to Johor. But that all changed this year.

The Malaysian Vehicle Entry Permit system was finally implemented in June, and it required Singapore vehicles to register before being allowed to enter Malaysia. In addition, since November 1, Singaporean vehicles also need to pay a flat RM20 road charge, or RC, for entering Johor at the Causeway and Second Link.

Coincidentally, the Malaysia VEP online registration has been disabled for a couple of weeks now, which means all unregistered Singaporean cars can still enter Johor, they just need to pay the RM20 RC.

 

So, who pays more? Malaysian Drivers entering Singapore or Singapore Drivers entering Malaysia?

Let’s find out exactly how much a driver must pay to make a round trip to their neighbouring country. While the calculation will include the VEP, we’ll also mention the additional conditions where the VEP charge is waived. For purposes of this comparison, we’ll also use the simplified exchange rate of 1 S$ = 3 RM.

 

Singapore cars entering Malaysia from Woodlands

Purpose Cost (S$/RM)
Departing from Woodlands S$3.80 / RM11.40
Entering Johor Bahru S$3.23 / RM9.70
Road Charge S$6.67 / RM20.00
Exiting Johor Bahru S$2.27 / RM6.80
Entering from Woodlands S$2.70 / RM8.10
TOTAL S$18.67 / RM56.00

 

Singapore cars entering Malaysia from Tuas

Purpose Cost (S$/RM)
Departing from Tuas S$3.20 / RM9.60
Entering Tanjung Kupang S$2.50 / RM7.50
Road Charge S$6.67 / RM20.00
Exiting Tanjung Kupang S$2.50 / RM7.50
Entering from Tuas S$3.20 / RM9.60
TOTAL S$18.07 / RM54.20

 

As stated above, the online registration for the Malaysian VEP is currently down, so unregistered cars can enter Malaysia. However, once the system is back up, it will cost an extra RM10 as a one-time fee to register and install an RFID chip, valid for 5 years.

 

Malaysian cars entering Singapore from Woodlands

Purpose Cost (S$/RM)
Exiting Johor Bahru S$2.27 / RM6.80
Entering from Woodlands S$2.70 / RM8.10
Vehicle Entry Permit S$35.00 / RM105.00
Departing from Woodlands S$3.80 / RM11.40
Entering Johor Bahru S$3.23 / RM9.70
TOTAL S$47.00 / RM141.00

 

Malaysian cars entering Singapore from Tuas

Purpose Cost (S$/RM)
Exiting Tanjung Kupang S$2.50 / RM7.50
Entering from Tuas S$3.20 / RM9.60
Vehicle Entry Permit S$35.00 / RM105.00
Departing from Tuas S$3.20 / RM9.60
Entering Tanjung Kupang S$2.50 / RM7.50
TOTAL S$46.40 / RM139.20

 

At first glance, it seems like it’s about $30 more expensive for Malaysian drivers thanks to Singapore’s Vehicle Entry Permit. But, here’s the thing. The VEP charge is waived for 10 days per calendar year. What’s more, it’s also only charged if entry is from 2am to 5pm on Mondays to Fridays. That means, Malaysian cars do not get charged the VEP during weekends and public holidays.

When you remove the VEP charge from the Malaysian drivers, therefore, it’s Singaporeans who end up paying more to head into Johor.

This is why our Transport Ministry has claimed that they will match it, calling the RC “discriminatory”. But is it really worth matching? Let’s not forget that this whole tit-for-tat essentially began when Singapore raised its VEP fee in 2014. At the end of the day, drivers from neither country benefits from increased charges.

 

Do you think S$20 is too steep to enter Malaysia for a weekend trip? Let us know.

Photo Credit: Emran Kassim

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Peter Lin

I am the poster boy for reinventing one's self. I've been a broadcast journalist, technical writer, banking customer service officer and a Catholic friar. My life experiences have made me the most cynical idealist you'll ever meet, which is why I'm also the co-founder of a local pop culture website. I believe ignorance is not bliss, and that money is the root of all evil only if you allow it to be.