Monday, August 04, 2014

The biggest (or only) challenge re the CIQ toll is ...

For Singaporeans, it's just the cost of a big latte+cheesecake. At Tokoh Wartawan Negara A. Kadir Jasin's open house yesterday, I arrived just in time for a lively discussion with other guests, including one from Singapore holding a strategic position in government, on the new and substantially higher CIQ toll rate. My ex-boss was beaming to see me, asked me to get a seat and happily introduced me: "Datuk Rocky here was born in Malaysia and grew up in Singapore but I'm quite sure he will defend the (Malaysian) government's move on the toll."

I happily obliged. To me, it's very clear that the new toll at CIQ 1. does not burden the majority of people, including most Malaysians who work in Singapore (because they travel by public and office transport), and 2. while it may seem to target Singaporeans and Malaysians driving Singapore-registered vehicles, these people can afford the increase (it's the price of a big latte and two cheese cakes at Starbucks, a Singapore blogger friend had told me last week).

Najib Razak's Cabinet would have considered the cause and effect of the new toll (plus the additional cost to Singaporean vehicles if or when we decide to charge them VEP-like fees) and found them to be minimal, at least where Malaysians are concerned. In fact, even the 400 per cent hike in charges imposed by Singapore on commercial vehicles from Malaysia recently (read here) will ultimately be passed to the Singapore consumer, I suggested. The Singapore guest at the table agreed that such would be the most probable case.

So why has the CIQ toll increase become controversial and contentious in Malaysia then? Answer: politics. It's been made a tool to score political points. The DAP, which is hoping to make greater inroads in Johor come the next general election, sees and opportunity and will seize it. Nur Jazlan Rahmat, the chairman of the PAC and government MP for Pulai, Johor, is not in Najib's Cabinet or he would have defended the toll increase. It's all a game to many of our politicians.

I was asked, "So what is the biggest challenge as far as the CIQ toll is concerned?"

"One thing and one thing only," I said, "for the Federal government not to do a flip-flop on its own decision."

And n the face of DAP-sponsored protests and Nur Jazlan's heroics, I'd never say for certain what Najib Razak's administration might do. You won't worry about the Singapore government back-pedalling on the VEP decision. They won't. If those two drivers who had stopped traffic at CIQ last week had done so in Singapore, they would have been arrested swiftly and sent to jail for being a menace. The Malaysian government should be as surefooted and stringent once a decision has been made.

As someone who has relatives and friends in Singapore, of course I want Singaporeans to continue visiting my country. And I'm sure they will continue to do so, even with the new toll. Large latte and cheese cakes in Starbucks here taste just as well and are still so much cheaper. 

Most Malaysians don't understand the bigger things Singapore motorists and prospective car owners have to think of

Here's one of them:
Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices all ended higher in the latest open tender on Wednesday. 
The open category of COEs, which can be used for any vehicle, saw a spike of $2,001 to $65,002. 
Prices for cars below 1600 cc went up by $900 to hit $62,890, while premiums for larger cars increased by $112 to end at $65,001. 
COE prices for motorcycles also rose from $4,001 to $4,252, while commercial vehicle COEs went up by a whopping $8,620 to $52,010. 
Source: One Motoring

New COE prices.

What it means? The Toyota Vios (a popular car on Malaysian roads) is retailed at S$112,000 in Singapore. So if you are a Singaporean and plan to buy one, you will have to cough up  62k + 112k = S$174,000. Or RM445,000, give or take one or two big lattes.

What can you buy with RM445k in Malaysia, ah?


  1. Anonymous12:17 pm

    Datuk. I think you need to correct the VIOS statement. The price of the car is only S$30-40k. After COE, it will be around S$118K.

  2. JalanStraitsview4:37 pm

    Again, Bru - too clever by half.

    I don't know who advised you on the Singapore government's policy on car ownership, but they might have misled you (intentionally or otherwise).

    The fact of the matter is that Singapore's transport policies are aimed at reducing congestion on roads and expressways, controlling the growth in the car population and encouraging the use of public transport.

    All done openly and transparently.

    The Singapore government is spending billions of dollars in extending the MRT network island wide and assisting the 2 bus companies to purchase sizeable numbers of new fuel-efficient buses.

    Has the Malaysian government or any of the state governments shown a similar single-minded focus on improving public transport in Malaysia?

    Heck, no! Proton is going cap-in-hand to the federal government for the reimbursement of the funds it spent on R&D.

    Public transport in Johor Bahru and the much-ballyhooed Iskandar region is disgracefully inadequate.

    The federal government's response to this seems to be the building of more and more toll highways.

    And since there's no such thing as a free lunch, guess who gets stuck with the costs of maintaining and upgrading the said highways.

    Why don't you take a close look at the state of public transport in Malaysia, instead of making snide comments about car prices in Singapore?

  3. Anonymous7:55 pm

    Ni tak termasuk cost of fuel, parking cost at HDB and toll charges..the car in Singapore can be used for 10 years only after that kena dispose..

  4. drMpower10:35 pm

    so 118K singdollar for a 1.5 car

    jezz. how come kit siang never tell me this? and that his son keep silent about a car in singapore than nearly 5 times more than in malaysia?

    the blardy fact DAP never tell us

    holy mother

  5. Anonymous1:17 am

    They paid a lot for a car and cannot test the power?

    Yet they need Malaysia roads and long highway to test their cars which they cannot do back in the own island.

    They will surely come to Malaysia whatever VEP cost charged!

  6. trifling-jester7:39 am

    rocky, nice spinning. the 112 - 118 price INCLUDES the COE. stop lying or check your facts. looks like even veteran journos can barely display competence.

    also, looks like the singaporean govt is making money out of cars without having to manufacture their own.

    here we have poured billions into proton - the only car i know who has been beaten with a bat on TopGear due to its uncompromisingly shitty quality.

    1. Trifling jester,
      There are quite a few Protons on Simgapore roads, you know, COE and all. :-) Am mighty proud every time I see one abroad.

  7. Anonymous10:53 am

    "Large latte and cheese cakes in Starbucks here taste just as well and are still so much cheaper."

    Dear Rocky, Starbucks is and always have been overpriced EVERYWHERE.

  8. In March 2012 Najib pledged in front of 10,000 people at a 1Malaysia dinner in Johor that there would no toll charges for EDL and no toll for those not using the EDL.

    He made the same pledge in September 2012 in Parliament!!

    So, how can the govt renege on PM Najib's word without proper consultation? How can a toll charge increase be implemented without gazetting it first? Who made this illegal decision - PM Najib or the Little Hitlers?

    We are all of 1 Race, the Human Race

    1. Donplaypuks,
      CIQ is not EDL. You pay toll at CIQ (when you are entering Singhapore). You don't pay a single sen, as promised by Najib, is you use the EDL ahundred times a day!

  9. Anonymous2:43 pm

    Kalau polisi singapura adalah nak kurangkan kenderaan dijalan , kita patut tolong tu .

    Semua kenderaan daftaran singapura nak masok Malaysia kena bayar tol S100. Dia nak masok balik singapura kena lagi S100. Jadi kita berkawanlah ngan singapura .
    Jangahlah pikir sangat pasal rakyat Malaysia kerja disana . Suruh diaorang naik motosikal atau kretapi lagi jimat.

    Yang berkeras nak naik kreta atau kenderaan lain tu , lupakan saja mereka ni . Ini semua UltraKiasu Dapig.
    Samalah dengan tu Si Nur Jaz...anak separoh cina . Satu mangkuk dengan Zairil Dapig.

    1. Betul bro...depa Cina Dap...Jazlan dan Zairil memang haram jadah....duduk bawah pemerintah Melayu...depa komplen 1001...memang kiasu diperingkat maksimum.....kalau bawah Cina...depa 2 ekor tentu diam bisu.

      Sapa yg dok sokong Jazlan ini menang baghal top.

      Singapura buat apa....depa ni tak komplen....tapi duduk diMalaysia....rezeki diMalaysia....tapi kutuk pemerintah...manusia mcm ni boleh pakai ka?

      Anjing tersepit memang gigit balik kalau kita tolong...faham2lah.

      Kalau sy jadi Najib...Jazlan ni sy dah lanyak lembik2 jadinya.

  10. Anonymous4:41 am

    In that case Rocky, the Singaporeans will get their car from Malaysia and have them registered in Malaysia and whatever else would for them...

    1. Anon 441,
      The Simgaporeans would if they could use their Malaysian-registered cars on Simgapore roads.

  11. Anonymous7:29 am

    Dato Rocky,

    Thank you for your eye opening piece which forced me to do a little google search.

    Perhaps your goodself, Datuk KJ and your friend from Singapore can mull over the following doubts that seem to be niggling me and perhaps many other readers too.


    Dato Wahid Omar states that toll was supposed to be implemented in May 2012 and after extensive study for two years - the gov decided that it cant take over the EDL so it must implement toll at the CIQ.

    (i)Alamak - the Big Boss announced in Sep 2012(yes - September 2012 comes after May 2012)that no toll to be imposed after (not if) the EDL is acquired?

    (2) There was a two year study and the government has no decency to disclose the rationale of the toll implementation and its rate? Just an announcement by the MHA on the 24th of July(yes 1 week before the implementation)? Why all the ambiguity - the double speak. If everything is clean( and yes it still maybe) come clean up front - dont wait to be criticized and the come out with batches of half baked statements (where are the facts? the details of the two year study?)

    Just before we compare the cost of car ownership in Singapore - lets look at the public transport system in JB. Need i say more? Perhaps you have an explanation for the pathetic state?

    For the other slow readers - the singapore gov discourages car ownership - hence the coe and what not - and encourages the use of public transport.

    forget JB - even KL (or greater Klang valley) has a deplorable public transport system. Yes downtown KL has an OK system - but what about the suburbs - the real rakyat live outside KL and the transportation system sucks. Two years ago I wrote to Prasarana- asking what study have the done about the connectivity of PPR's and low cost housing estates - I had no response. I can assure you that they have done none and neither will they do any.

    In Singapore every HDB estate is well connected to teh city either by the MRT or the bus network.

    So dont comparelah.

    yang jernih kita ambil and keruh kita buang lah.

    as you rightfully said - our leaders are preoccupied with politics - they have got no time to manage and lead the country.

    Anyways PKR is just the same. All talk but equally empty vessel.



  12. Anonymous7:34 am

    While the public transport system in Malaysian cities could do with improvement, Singapore's extensive public transportation system is tailored to a huge commuter population (a huge majority of which have no means of owning cars at all) and the bus/mrt system is absolutely vital to the economic machinery of the country. With 3 million original Singaporeans and 2 million immigrants - whose headcount is fast rising - one wonders if it is not the pressure-cooker moneyed environment that has pushed Singapore down to the lowest fertility rate per woman, the whole world over.

    By the way, isn't it time for the government to recover ownership and maintenance of all our highway systems in Malaysia from the capitalists and rescue us from profit-oriented toll charges?

    Anyway, JalanStraitsview there's more to it than meets the eye down south in terms of transparency:

  13. Anonymous7:45 am

    and Datuk Bru,

    I am waiting with bated breath for your comments/views on JalanStraitsview's piece on the Public Transport System in Malaysia.

    How come so quite one?

    You seem to have tome to offer a piece of your mind to the useless rant of some of your commentators but there seems to be absolute silence on pieces which are worthy?

    Politics - yes it all about politics - does anyone really care?

    I am sorry - but i feel really frustrated today - especially when people exhibit a houlier than thou attitude and then lie.



  14. TamanTasek2:57 pm

    Bru - quite a few Protons on Simgapore(sic) roads?


    Let's see the stats. Is Proton among the top 10 car brands in Singapore?

    Also, all the Singapore-registered Protons that I've seen on the roads appear to be driven by a particular group of people. Singapore motoring journalists will know what I mean.

    In any case, what's Proton car numbers in Singapore got to do with tolls in Malaysia and VEP fees in Singapore?

    There was a good report on the EDL in the Singapore Straits Times a few days ago. It's amazing, after having read the report, to see how much misinformation about the EDL is flying around.

    Another example of the cosy nexus between politics and business in Malaysia?

    Where's the transparency?

  15. Anonymous9:46 pm

    @ trifling-jester.
    The car that got sledgehammered by Clarkson was not a Proton.

    Its a Perodua. Not so much for shitty build quality but for being a dull appliance. What's the difference you may wonder.?

    Proton has moved on from merely rebadging cars which Perodua continues to do.