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.


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