Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan challenged the Malaysian government yesterday (July 11) saying that he will raise toll charges for Malaysian vehicles in response to Malaysia’s raise toll charges for Singaporean vehicles.
Minister Khaw Boon Wan defended his diplomatic hara kiri by claiming that it is a “long-standing policy” to raise Vehicle Entry Permit fee and toll charges to “match any increase in Malaysia’s tolls”. Minister Khaw even brought up a 1998 example claiming that the tolls at the Causeway and Second Link were introduced in 1998 only in response to Malaysia’s decision to levy tolls at both crossings.
However, the Transport Minister’s offensive stance will only result in increased transport costs for Singapore businesses which are heavily reliant on Malaysia for food, water resources and manufacturing productions. There is no bilateral dialogue held over the toll charges and the Singapore government appears unwilling to use diplomatic means to settle disputes, often resorting to similar carrot-or-stick methods in the same manner they deal with Singaporeans. A relentless increase in tolls from both countries will only destroy each others’ economy.
Minister Khaw Boon Wan is an ex-Malaysian who has never served National Service in Singapore. It is speculated that Minister Khaw Boon Wan is mixing his personal dislike for the Malaysia government in Singapore politics.