Levy on Singapore-registered cars: greedy and unreasonable

The suggestion to increase the toll on Singapore- registered vehicles is one of the most absurd I’ve heard from a Johore politician. Johor Assemblyman Mr Samsol Bari Jami suggested imposing a levy of 7 ringgit.

At the current level of levy, Johor rakes in about 16 million ringgit every month or about 190 million a year. Johor also benefits when Singaporeans spend at their shopping malls, F & B establishments and petrol stations.

JB in particular has prospered because of the hordes of Singaporeans who find excitement in crossing the border.

But all this it seems is not enough for Mr Samsol. His greed is evident. He wants to make hay while the sun shines. Even more ridiculous is his firm belief that Singaporeans would still flock to the state since they could afford it.

Perhaps this stems from his confidence in the aroma of JB nasi lemak or mee rebus that Singaporeans will give their right arm to.

However, there are Singaporeans who have changed their minds about JB. Cheap, delicious street food? Not after they had seen rats enjoying their company.

A nice outing to JB? Not when you get stuck in heavy traffic for up to one to two hours.

With budget airlines, other regional destinations now compete with Malaysia. “Where is the fun of going to the same old destinations all the time?” my friend Michael said.

Michael has given up driving to Malaysia due to the perennial traffic congestion at the checkpoints. Now he flies regularly on budget airlines to regional destinations.

The problem that grabs the attention of Singaporeans is the crime situation in Malaysia. They fear being robbed, knifed or shot at. Or get their precious cars stolen.

Go ahead and raise the levy to 7 ringgit. Why not make it a nice 10 or even 20 ringgit?

If the Johor state government shares Mr Samsol’s enthusiasm, it risks a backlash. JB may become a ghost town. And that may well spell an end to his political career.

2014 is Visit Malaysia Year. Any unwarranted increase in levy will surely dampen interest in VMY.

Go ahead and kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Orang tamak ( Malay for greedy person) lah.

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