Once this ban kick in probably this Friday, will you cut down on trips to Malaysia? Probably there will be a traffic jam this Thursday at the causeway. I think this ban will mostly affect motorists who visit Johor once or twice a week just to buy cheap petrol. With the current all time high petrol price, buying cheap petrol from Malaysia have become so attractive that makes Singaporeans make the trip there. So by implementing this, will it deter people from visiting Malaysia and triggering a downturn in their economy in the long run?

Some Singaporeans said they may cut back on trips to Malaysia once the proposed ban on the sale of petrol and diesel to foreign registered vehicles within a 50-kilometre radius of Malaysia’s borders takes effect.

The ban is expected to kick in as early as this Friday in a move to prevent abuse of heavy fuel subsidies.

However, Malaysia’s Domestic Trade Minister, Shahrir Samad, said on Tuesday that the ban is a temporary one. It will be lifted once a new subsidy mechanism to replace the existing scheme, where everyone is subsidised, is put in place.

Still, the move is expected to affect hundreds of motorists who regularly cross over the border for cheaper oil.

Malaysia’s diesel and petrol prices are among the lowest in Asia due to high government subsidies.

The ban is expected to affect up to 300 petrol stations in the country. And Singaporeans who head to Johor Bahru for cheaper petrol will be the most affected.

For example, Loy Cheong, a businessman who is a regular traveller across the border, said he will cut back on his trips.

Mr Cheong, Business Development Manager, Medo Enterprises Holding, said: “Buying cheap petrol is one of the privileges and what attracts the Singaporean to go there. But with this implementation, it may deter people from visiting Johor.

“We go normally once a week or once in every two weeks. But if they implement this, maybe we will go less often, like once a month.”

Also facing problems are Malaysians who are Singapore permanent residents.

Koh Ming Li, a Singapore permanent resident, lives near the border and has been coming to Singapore almost every day for the past two years for work.

He said: “The problem now is that it prohibits me from driving directly into JB. And as for the 50-kilometre radius from JB, I would say (there’s) almost no petrol kiosks within JB that I can pump petrol from.”

Petrol kiosk operators who violate the ban face the possibility of a S$110,000 fine (RM$250,000) or a three-year jail term or both.


Reader's Comments

  1. Ryan | May 28th, 2008 at 1:32 am

    Definitely! More than 80% of my friends who went to Malaysia is for their cheap petrol! Surely there will be a dip in the number of people visiting Malaysia. With this ban, no more cheap petrol, no more attraction… So why bother to travel there ?

  2. PETE | May 28th, 2008 at 4:04 am

    I had just brought a house in JB and thought of semi retire there soon. I am also considering and looking into buying some shop houses for investment there. But after getting this unpleasant news that we Singaporean cannot buy petrol in JB, I am now reluctant to consider buying any properties in Malaysia. I even regreted my commitment now that I had brought a nice house there. It would certainly make me very inconvenient to stay and live in Malaysia and commute back to Singapore. I am sure with this new law of prejudice, many investors and tourist will be pissed off. The repercussion will be even worst as the Malaysian Government may lose out on other revenue from investors by just saving their fuel subsidy for the poor alone. When that happened, certain Malaysian industry will also be affected with lose revenue and jobs etc. If the new law is not lifted out, I will only have to make other plan and maybe sell my JB house in due time and look into other countries instead.

  3. Miss Loi | May 28th, 2008 at 10:50 am

    A ‘win-win’ would be to sell petrol at unsubsidized rates to foreign vehicles while retaining the usual rates for local ones.

    But modifying fuel pumps across whole of MY for this might be too costly or technologically challenging – maybe MY ministers are not paid highly enough to come out with a more viable solution.

    Well hopefully there’ll be smoother traffic to my JB hair salon from now on šŸ˜›

  4. GeekyCoder | May 28th, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Another retaliation from the Malaysia govenment over the recent ruling. This came too suddenly without warning. Are the Malaysia government really mindless and nonchalant to those Malaysia business who depend more on Singaporean for business in Johore ? Have they study the impact that they will make to investor ?

    This case has been going on for years and to implement this swifty without a concrete implementation and plan rather than some vague idea just after the ruling will surely backfire. Emotion seem to get better of them.

    Really what are oil subsidies to Malaysia if Singaporean is going to contribute greatly to Malaysia economy ? Have they weight the contribution of Singapore consumer compare to how much they will save in oil under ‘subsidies’ for Singaporean.

    Such a decision is surely a dent to those who invest property and resource to the country because one never what other measuremet the Malaysian government going to do next to prevent their so-called ‘exploitation’ from Singaporean. Maybe tax more from Singaporean.

  5. Aaron | May 29th, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Yes definately i cant purchase anymore petrol as for cigerettes i can easily get the contrabands in singapore, as for dvds i can always download torrent files, as for clothes i got so many of them that i hardly wear them. As for vehicle servicing i can always do it myself. Anyway, 3 hours ago was my last trip to malaysia for my last petrol top-up. I have got totally no plans in the near future to make trips to malaysia. One more thing, Johor Baru can kiss my fat ass.

  6. Ahcinda | May 31st, 2008 at 7:48 am

    What’s the point of driving in to Johor Bahru if our tank will be empty after we shop and makan there huh?? Very stupid as we come back with an empty tank. Its a waste of time and money!!! I rather shop and eat in Singapore now.

  7. precious | June 4th, 2008 at 2:03 am

    Wow, looks like Singapore should offer Malaysians subsidized fuel instead of charging Malaysian cars for driving in.

    That way, tourism will surely improve in Singapore and Malaysians will get to enjoy cheap fuel. Win-Win!

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