Malaysia has put off plans to ban sale of petrol to foreign-register vehicles within 50km of their north and south borders. This is partly because of the repercussions on the businesses around these petrol kiosks that thrives on the businesses of foreigners, particularly at the Singapore borders. In addition, Datuk Seri Najib cited that there was a need to find a new effective date because he now realized that Singaporeans do not mind paying the market rate. Moreover, Malaysians who are working in Singapore are known to own Singapore-registered cars. One Malaysian, however, felt that the ban on her refueling in Malaysia is fair because she’s working in Singapore and should not be enjoying the subsidy.

I am not sure if the other Malaysians working in Singapore agrees with her. =)

I thought the ban should be rethought because it’s rather silly for Singaporeans driving back to Singapore to try to figure out where the 50km mark is. I am assuming there are indicators along the North-South highway, although I am not sure if this can’t be said for those who enjoy the "smaller roads". This isn’t fun if you are running on an almost empty gas tank.

MALAYSIA has put off plans to ban foreign-registered vehicles from filling up on subsidised petrol in its border areas with Singapore and Thailand, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said yesterday.

The ban was originally to start today for Thai-registered vehicles in the north and on June 9 for drivers of Singapore-registered cars in the south.

But Datuk Seri Najib, who is in Singapore to attend a security summit, told reporters that an anti-inflation Cabinet committee would meet tomorrow to review the plan.

‘We have to find a new effective date because there are other matters, like for example, can we have separate pumps because the Singaporeans are saying that they don’t mind paying the market rate,’ he said.

His comments indicated that the government may allow foreigners to buy higher-priced fuel, whereas the earlier plan was to impose a total ban on foreigners buying fuel.

He said that the postponement was made following requests by Singaporeans.

Many Malaysians who work in Singapore have also complained that they should be allowed to enjoy subsidised rates for their Singapore-registered vehicles, he added.

The move is part of Malaysia’s measures to curb soaring subsidies, which are expected to cost the government RM45 billion (S$19 billion) this year as global oil prices skyrocket.

It bars foreign-registered vehicles from refuelling at petrol stations within 50km of the country’s borders with Singapore and Thailand. The penalty for station owners who flout the rule is a fine of up to RM250,000 or a jail term of three years.

Separately, the Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore, speaking to The Straits Times yesterday, said that the Malaysian government is conscious of the ‘practical issues’ that have arisen from the proposed ban.

There are many Malaysians who own Singapore vehicles, including some who live in Johor Baru but travel daily to work here, Datuk N. Parameswaran said.

They should not be ‘penalised’.

‘Being Malaysian, they should be able to enjoy a Malaysian facility extended to Malaysians,’ he said.

Mr Parameswaran said that government officials meeting tomorrow will discuss suggestions that Malaysians who own Singapore-registered vehicles be allowed to buy petrol by flashing their identity card, the MyKad.

‘That’s a very practical possibility,’ he added.

It had been reported that some Malaysians who own Singapore-registered vehicles were upset by the ban.

But others, like Ms Jenny Leong, thought it was fair.

‘I work in Singapore and live here, so I shouldn’t get to enjoy the subsidy,’ said the 60-year-old financial consultant, who is a permanent resident here.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CAROLYN QUEK

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 2nd June 2008



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