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Johor opposition calls on govt to suspend toll fares

Malaysian opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat in Johor Bahru has called on its government to suspend the toll fees for travelling to Singapore until further consultation with members of the public and businesses. 

SINGAPORE: Malaysian opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat in Johor Bahru has called on its government to suspend the toll fees for travelling to Singapore until further consultation with members of the public and businesses. They said the toll was increased without proper consultation.

There were rumours that members of Pakatan Rakyat in Johor Bahru had instigated bus drivers to hold the protest against the toll increase. On Friday, two bus drivers had refused to pay the increased tolls at the Malaysian Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex and left their vehicles there, blocking traffic.

This was shot down by the opposition members at a news conference in Johor on Saturday (2 Aug).

They suggested that both Malaysia and Singapore should have a dialogue on recent bilateral issues that affect their citizens - such as the toll and the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP). The Malaysian government, they said, should provide a justification for the hike in toll fares while Singapore should explain the increase in the VEP for foreign-registered cars entering Singapore.

A statement by Singapore’s Land Transport Authority on Friday said the VEP is meant to equalise the cost of owning and using a foreign-registered vehicle in Singapore. And the fees were revised because the "cost difference" has widened in recent years.

The issues of toll fees and VEP have also created some confusion in Johor. The opposition members said authorities need to step in to create more public awareness.

Dr Boo Cheng Hau, Johor state’s legislative opposition leader, said: "The toll hike is to pay for usage of both the highways - nothing to do with VEP. But the ministers, and even our chief state minister, have confused the issues. VEP is VEP, that is a tax collected by the government but toll hikes are collected by private companies. They must provide service, the only simple principle of business - you want my money, you have to provide a service." 

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