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New toll charges at Johor implemented ‘smoothly’: Malaysia’s Works Ministry

Any operational problems faced have been overcome, the ministry said on Friday, who added that "there was no strike" and the congestion was due to a "small commotion caused by two bus drivers" refusing to pay the toll charges.

JOHOR BAHRU: Despite massive congestion at the Johor checkpoint early on Friday morning (Aug 1) after Malaysian bus drivers went on strike, Malaysia’s Works Ministry said the implementation of new toll charges went “smoothly”.

In an emailed statement to Channel NewsAsia reporter Sumisha Naidu, the ministry said: “Overall, the toll collection operation has gone smoothly and any operational problems faced have been overcome.”

The Malaysian Highway Authority last week announced a 400 per cent increase in toll charges to RM6.80 (S$2.65), RM10.20, RM13.60, RM3.40 and RM5.50 for Class 1 to Class 5 vehicles, respectively. Only motorcyclists are exempted from paying toll.

The toll collection, using Touch N Go electronic payment cards, applied to both inbound and outbound vehicles travelling between Malaysia and Singapore, the statement said.

The Touch N Go cards can be purchased or topped up at the toll lanes. According to the ministry, 1,000 Touch N Go cards worth RM10 (S$3.90) were distributed to “early bird users” at the Johor checkpoint.

A source from the highway concessionaire told Channel NewsAsia that the bus drivers who were on strike only dispersed after police stepped in and the drivers received the free Touch N Go cards.

“To ensure the toll collection operations continue to run smoothly, officers from the Malaysian Highway Authority, Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) and the North South Highway (PLUS) will be at the site to keep an eye on the situation and handle any operational problems that may arise,” the Works Ministry said.

The Works Ministry issued a subsequent statement at about 3.50pm, saying "there was no strike by bus drivers at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) this morning".

The ministry said: "What happened was a small commotion caused by the refusal of two bus drivers to pay the toll imposed at the CIQ. The government views this seriously and stern action according to the relevant laws will be taken against the irresponsible bus drivers.

"Officials from the Malaysian Highway Authority, EDL and PLUS will be at the site to monitor the situation and ensure traffic congestion can be eased," it added.

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