Channel NewsAsia

Johor Lorry Operators' Association dismisses talk of toll hike protest

The Johor Lorry Operators’ Association stressed that it would not initiate a protest at Johor Bahru’s immigration checkpoint over a recent hike in toll fees, retracting earlier comments from its vice president.

SINGAPORE: The Johor Lorry Operators’ Association (JLOA) on Monday (Aug 4) reiterated that it would not be initiating a protest at Johor Bahru’s immigration checkpoint over the hike in toll fees for vehicles travelling from the Malaysian state to Singapore.

A statement from JLOA president Anthony Tan said organising a protest would be "inappropriate". "It is very destructive economically for businesses between Malaysia and Singapore. It is also irresponsible by any groups or individuals to initiate such actions. We strongly condemn such actions."

Mr Tan also distanced himself from earlier comments from his vice president, Andrew Chia. Mr Chia had on Saturday told Channel NewsAsia that if the toll fares were not reduced, the association may stage a protest. Mr Tan said this was Mr Chia's personal opinion, and that he has since clarified that his position.

“(Mr Chia) has said that he totally disagrees with initiation of any protest by way of lorry strike or blockage to public roads and facilities,” Mr Tan stated. "JLOA finds that the reports are a misunderstanding and will not pursue the matter further."

Still, Mr Tan stressed that his association felt that the more than 400 per cent increase in toll charges is "ridiculously steep for the business community to absorb quickly”, and he said it was made known to the public “at an inappropriate timing”. The toll fee hike at Johor Bahru Customs came into effect on Friday, amid the Hari Raya festive season.

Mr Tan also called for an immediate halt to the collection of toll charges until a “fair and reasonable consensus" could be reached between the logistics and business communities and toll collectors.