Singapore-Malaysia border crossing (update 10): Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System in Dec 2024

21 Jan 2018:  Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System in Dec 2024

Dec 2024: Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System to carry 10,000 passengers per hr per direction; need to clear customs only once

26 Oct 2017: Commentary by Khor Yu Leng

Johor views of the rising cross-border tolls with Singapore by Khor Yu Leng, 26 Oct 2017

The busiest land crossing in the world has been adjusting to and absorbing “tit-for-tat” fees escalation since 2014

The Johor-Singapore land crossing is described as one of the busiest in the world. Johor authorities reported an average of about 296,000 daily pedestrians in 2015. This figure excludes those using motorcycles (about 100,000 registered for automated clearance), cars, vans, lorries and buses. The data is a bit patchy, but reports point to 126,000 vehicles daily (including about 4,000 trucks and lorries entering Singapore) just on the kilometre-long Causeway built in 1923; whilst the Second Link has capacity for 200,000 per day. Overall this implies at least a quarter million commuters.

Compare this with the US-Mexico San Ysidro border crossing (connecting San Diego and Tijuana), which has 50,000 cars and 25,000 pedestrians entering the US daily. While San Ysidro (35 minutes to cross in a standard lane, may be faster) is often thought of as the busiest land crossing in the world, the statistics suggest that the Causeway has it beat.

Many on a daily commute are Malaysians seeking higher paying jobs in Singapore. To earn incomes that can be three-times higher than if they worked in Johor, hundreds of thousands of people make daily 180-240 minute (return) commutes across the congested Causeway and Second Link bridges. This includes widespread anecdotes of an added 60 minute daily wait times at immigration in recent years.

Swelling the massive commuting traffic are Singaporeans whose strong currency takes them a long way in Johor. This brings weekend and holiday car traffic that go for essentials of shopping, foot massages and a car wash. No surprise that some Johor workers in Singapore say they don’t bother to return home until late every Friday night!

Malaysia’s VEP registered 20,000 Singapore cars by October 2015. While there were complaints on higher crossing fees and talk about reducing trips, Johor experts and a mall owner I checked in with report no impacts. Basically, Singapore drivers get used to paying a bit more within a month or two, and things are “business as usual” for those catering to their trade. Property gurus point to more new retail outlets in Johor including a new Aeon in September, Ikea and Paradigm Mall in November, and Mid-Valley at South Quay.

Johor observers point to the start of competitive fees hikes in 2014 on passenger car traffic, with Singapore increasing its Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) from SGD20 to SGD35 per day. In reaction the Barisan Nasional government did not honour its 2013 general election pledge not to charge toll fees on the Johor Bahru Eastern Dispersal Link Expressway (EDL, that links the North-South Expressway with the city’s CIQ Complex). Thus, all vehicles at the CIQ pay a charge whether they actually use it or not. The latest is a RM25 5-year Malaysia VEP, that adds to last year’s new RM20 road charge, that took a round trip for a Singapore car going into Johor to about SGD19.

Johor State Assemblywoman Wong Shu Qi explains that this “toll hike competition” causes more Johor workers to use motorbikes. She points out that things are still to the relative benefit as  “Singapore cars pay RM56.80 per roundtrip whilst a Malaysian car pays RM 165.80.” Think also of the cost of having a family dinner in Johor versus Singapore.

Other Johor resident point to a well-off segment of Johoreans working in Singapore and driving Singapore registered vehicles as bearing the greater cost increase of about RM400 per month (RM20 road charge for 20 work days). Some can afford this, and others already defray costs by carpooling to their Singapore jobs. It seems there is limited sympathy in Johor for the extra charges as they appear to be largely borne by a relatively small segment of well-off Johor residents.

Indeed, there is even negative sentiment in Johor about Singapore registered cars. Assemblywoman Wong explains that: “Many locals reckon that Singapore vehicles that are driven rudely and recklessly in Johor are actually driven by Malaysians with Singapore PRs who are proud of owning a Singapore registered car.”

Perhaps the ones to sympathise with are the 100,000 motorcyclists on stressful daily commutes. While they do not face such rising charges, a Johor resident points out that fights are not uncommon. “Many have added spikes to their motorbikes. The police have gotten good at breaking up the fights, and they don’t arrest them.”

So, Singapore shoppers easily shrug off rising car charges but Johoreans face more motorbike angst and carpooling as the long term decline of the Ringgit against the Singapore dollar has driven even more to seek jobs in the island state. As for those selling property to make Johor a dormitory for Singapore, some developers currently see the tolls as a minor issue relative to the over-supply of condominiums and crime problems. Township developers are currently more worried about the too-low 70% financing offered to their buyers, but are long-term positive as their landed units are cheap for Singaporeans.

The future Rapid Transit System will no doubt be greatly welcomed by the current quarter million Johor commuters and keenly eyed by Singaporeans considering Johor for more than the weekend foot massage. For now, the feeling is that it was high time that Johor commuters with Singapore cars should pay more for their road usage; but they would no doubt wish that they get more than the allocated 20% of the RM20 road charge for Johor state coffers.

Khor Yu Leng is an independent political economist at Segi Enam Advisors Pte Ltd.

Note: One Singapore Dollar (SGD) equals 3.11 Malaysian Ringgit (RM). The Malaysian Ringgit now has 2/3 of the exchange rate value it had with the Singapore Dollar in 2002. The author lived for a period in Johor Bahru as a young child. She remembers crossing to Singapore every weekend for shopping, eating and visiting relatives. She also remembers that the Singapore Dollar exchange with the Malaysian Ringgit was one-for-one.


Author’s interviews with seven Johor observers, 14-25 October 2017

Nearly 300,000 walk between Johor and Singapore daily, 22 April 2016, AsiaOne, (accessed 25 Oct 2017).Motorcyclists grumble over congestion at Johor's new M-Bike lanes, 21 Feb 2017, New Straits Times, (accessed 25 Oct 2017).Busy U.S.-Mexico border crossing reopens ahead of schedule, 25 Sep 2017, LA Times, (accessed 25 Oct 2017).RTS to Shorten Travel Time Between JB and Singapore, 28 Sep 2017, Property Guru, (accessed 25 Oct 2017).Singapore says will hike Causeway toll rate if Malaysia does, 29 Jul 2014, Malay Mail, (accessed 25 Oct 2017).Singapore says will hike Causeway toll rate if Malaysia does, 29 Jul 2014, Straits Times,   (accessed 25 Oct 2017).

16 Oct 2017: Malaysia 5-year VEP (RFID tag) RM25 fee adds to RM20 Road Charge

Malaysia to implement Vehicle Entry Permit for all foreign-registered vehicles 9 Oct 2017 -- All foreign-registered vehicles entering Malaysia will soon require a Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) that costs RM25 (S$8), said Malaysia’s transport minister Liow Tiong Lai on Saturday (Oct 7).

This is on top of the RM20 road charge currently imposed on vehicles entering Malaysia from Singapore. The VEP would be valid for five years, said Mr Liow, without giving a timeline for its implementation. Vehicle owners who paid for the VEP will be issued with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag to be placed on the windshields of their vehicles. “The VEP will help us to identify the number of foreign vehicles entering Malaysia and also to prevent car theft and car cloning syndicates,” Mr Liow was quoted as saying by The Star. He added that the road charge would also apply to the northern border with Thailand by the end of this year or early next year. “We will implement the VEP and the RC at border entries between Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia for cars coming into Sarawak from the two countries at a later stage,” he said. Read more at

Foreign vehicles entering Singapore to pay 'reciprocal road charge' of S$6.40 Singapore 16 Jan 2017 -- Starting Feb 15, all foreign-registered cars will have to pay a reciprocal road charge (RRC) of S$6.40 when they enter Singapore via the Tuas or Woodlands Checkpoints, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced on Monday (Jan 16). "The RRC mirrors Malaysia’s road charge of RM20 (S$6.40) per entry for non-Malaysia registered cars entering Johor, which was implemented on Nov 1, 2016," LTA said. The road charge will be collected together with the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP), toll charges and fixed Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) fees upon departure at the Tuas or Woodlands Checkpoints. An average of 20,000 Singapore-registered vehicles enter Malaysia daily via the two land checkpoints. Read more at

RM20 road charge for foreign vehicles entering Johor from November, 28 Oct 2016 -- Foreign private-registered vehicles entering Malaysia via Johor will be subjected to an RM20 (S$6.60) charge from Nov 1, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) announced on Friday (Oct 28). The road charge (RC) will be collected each time motorists enter Malaysia via Touch n’ Go cards, according to the statement. The RC system has been activated at the two land entry points in Johor - the Causeway and the Second Link - and will be extended to the 10 other entrances into the country in stages.

"Initial collection exercise will only involve foreign private-registered vehicles excluding foreign registered motorcycles," MOT added.  The ministry said the RC is not to be confused with the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP). It described the VEP, which requires foreign vehicles entering Malaysia to be registered via an online portal for an RFID tag costing RM10, as "part of ongoing efforts by the Government of Malaysia to improve border control and monitoring". Read more at

8 Feb 2017: Singapore reciprocal road charge on Malaysia vehicles starts on 15 Feb, no cross-border paid car pooling, Singapore-JB MRT link?

Editor's note: I was chatting with a Singapore-based economist this morning. On the 15th the higher fee cars for the Malaysia-Singapore crossing kicks in (triggered by Malaysia's special fee on Singapore cars – which is not replicated for its Thai and Indonesia borders). Families living-straddling border have to split (meet up weekends) or face an extra RM2000 per month commute cost. I also saw headline today’s news about tighter rules on renting out rooms in Singapore (but I haven’t read it yet). 

New entry charge for foreign cars from Feb 15, PUBLISHED JAN 17, 2017 -- Foreign cars entering Singapore will be levied a new entry charge from Feb 15, in line with earlier government pronouncements that the Republic will match similar fees implemented by Malaysia. In an announcement yesterday, the Land Transport Authority said a reciprocal road charge of $6.40 per entry will apply at both the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints. It said the fee mirrors Malaysia's road charge of RM20 (S$6.40) for non-Malaysia registered cars entering Johor that was implemented on Nov 1 last year.... On Jan 9, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan told Parliament that Singapore intends to match Malaysia's road charge.... He pointed out that Malaysia collected about RM13.93 million in road charges from Singapore vehicles in the seven weeks from Nov 1. Singapore's reciprocal charge will be collected with the vehicle entry permit (VEP) and toll charges for the two crossings, which can amount to as much as $41.50 for cars. During Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) hours, foreign cars without an in-vehicle unit are also levied a fixed ERP charge of $5 a day.

Paid cross-border carpooling services are against regulations: LTA By Linette Lim  Posted 20 Jun 2016 -- Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia, an LTA spokesperson said: "Malaysian-registered cars are not allowed to provide hire-and-reward services in Singapore without a public service vehicle licence." Likewise, Malaysian regulations do not permit Singapore-registered cars to do the same in Malaysia without a public service vehicle licence.

Singapore-JB MRT to be linked by high bridge; deal by 2017 PUBLISHED DEC 14, 2016

Nearly 300,000 walk between Johor and Singapore daily Apr 22, 2016 -- ISKANDAR PUTERI - An average of 295,731 people use the two land crossings between Malaysia and Singapore daily. State Tourism, Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said Immigration Department records showed that some 107.9 million people used the Johor Causeway and Second Link last year. "This did not include the ones travelling on motorcycles, cars, vans, lorries and buses. - See more at:

 19 October 2015: New Johor-Singapore vehicle permit system delayed again, Malaysia toll hikes, Immigration Dept can impose travel ban against those who shamed Malaysia

Immigration Dept can impose travel ban against those who shamed Malaysia Published: 18 October 2015 3:38 PM - See more at:

New Johor-Singapore vehicle permit system delayed again, exco says Updated: 5:10 PM, October 7, 2015 KUALA LUMPUR — The new Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system meant for both causeways linking Malaysia to Singapore has been delayed a second time despite an earlier announcement that the system would go live last Thursday (Oct 1). Johor Public Works, Rural and Regional Development committee chairman Hasni Mohammad said that the new start date for the system, which has already registered 20,000 Singaporean vehicles according to the Road Transport Department (RTD) website, will be determined during the mentris besar and chief ministers meeting. “We have to wait for the outcome of the meeting before making any comment or announcement,” he was quoted as saying by The Star Online. This is the system’s second delay, the first resulting from “technical difficulties”, which pushed back its August 1 launch. According to newswire Bernama, the VEP system will initially involve foreign-registered vehicles entering Malaysia through Johor but will eventually be applied to all 12 road entry points into the country. Roads from Thailand will be next to receive the VEP system, followed by Brunei and Indonesia. THE MALAY MAIL ONLINE

Toll hikes: Why is Barisan Nasional on a suicidal path? Sin Chew Daily Published Oct 16, 2015, 1:06 pm SGT; In its editorial on Oct 15, 2015, Sin Chew Daily questions the belief that Malaysian voters will forget the hikes when it is time to vote in two years' time. First of all, toll rates for 18 major highways in the country was increased with effect from Thursday (Oct 15). And before long, the frustrated public began to lash out mercilessly at the government for the sudden and drastic increase.... The BN government used to cap the toll hike by way of compensating the concessionaires or allowing them to extend their toll collection periods.  I believe they might have weighed the pros and cons that they have decided to leave the concessionaires alone this time. Apparently the government is placing its stake on some common human attributes: forgetfulness and adaptability.  The next general elections may be more than two years away, and the time is long enough to diffuse any negative impact that might come with the rising toll rates.....

Toll hikes better now than later, says report Published: 14 October 2015 9:06 AM

See more at:

All highways involved in toll hikes not ‘inter-urban’, says body Published: 17 October 2015 8:37 PM; All 18 highways which increased their toll rates since last Thursday are not categorised as inter-urban highways. The Malaysian Highway Authority in a statement today said inter-urban highways were highways linking one state capital to another state capital and forming a national highway network as they connected the rural areas to the towns. “Geometrically, inter urban highways have controlled access as commuters can only enter the highways via certain interchanges. googletag.cmd.push(function() {googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1400601790726-3');}); “Highways categorised as an inter-urban highway are the North-South and East Coast Expressways,” the statement said. The highway authority also explained that the KL-Karak Highway (KLK)is not an inter-urban highway as the highway only connects Gombak and Bentong, Pahang. - See more at:

PLUS toll hike due next year By: LEONG HUNG YEE Saturday, 17 October 2015

Toll hikes coming to Penang as well   By Audrey Dermawan - 13 October 2015 @ 12:53 PM

‘Betrayal,’ PM says of toll hike proposal leak By Ida Lim Saturday June 13, 2015 - See more at:

5 August 2015: 

Malaysia's new VEP fee (RM20 per entry and RM10 for 5 year registration) discriminates against Singapore vehicles - Singapore may hike vehicle entry fee in tit-for-tat move

Malaysia's new VEP fee discriminates against Singapore vehicles: Transport Ministry "Such costs and inconveniences could discourage Singaporeans from going to Malaysia, in particular Johor, for leisure purposes such as shopping, entertainment, sight-seeing, holiday," the Transport Ministry says.

POSTED: 04 Aug 2015 20:47  UPDATED: 04 Aug 2015 22:43; SINGAPORE: Malaysia's upcoming RM20 (S$7.16) entry fee for foreign-registered vehicles travelling through Johor, "discriminates against Singapore vehicles", the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said on Tuesday (Aug 4). The fee kicks in on Oct 1 and the ministry said Singapore will consider matching the levy in some form after studying its implementation. MOT also said it is requesting more information from Malaysian authorities on their new requirement for Singapore vehicles to pre-register before entering Malaysia. Over the weekend, Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi was quoted by The Star as saying "from Sep 1, Singapore vehicles which are not registered with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) would be refused entry into Malaysia”.

Singapore may hike vehicle entry fee in tit-for-tat move Published: 4 August 2015 11:56 PM; Aziz also said that Malaysia is aiming to roll out a second phase of the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system covering the Malaysia-Thailand border by the middle of next year. The mandatory registration applies to all private vehicles, public buses, taxis, goods vehicles as well as diplomatic cars. Vehicle owners are also required to pay RM10 for the road charge, which is valid for five years. Separately, from October 1, Singapore-registered private passenger vehicles will have to pay RM20 per entry for the VEP. The VEP for foreign vehicles was previously scheduled to begin on September 1, after it was postponed from August 1. Payment can be made only with Malaysia’s Touch ‘n Go card. In August last year, Singapore raised its entry permit charges – for the first time since 1994 – for foreign cars and goods vehicles. Singapore's Land Transport Authority had explained that the increase sought to “equalise the cost of owning and using a foreign-registered vehicle in Singapore with that for a Singapore-registered vehicle”. In response, Malaysia raised the tolls at the Causeway in the same month. Two months later, Singapore followed suit, as part of a long-standing policy that ensures a fair distribution of total revenues from the crossings. – TODAY Online, August 4, 2015.

21 July 2015:

Singapore-Johor Baru shuttle train - The Shuttle Tebrau and Johor-Singapore taxi services resume after licence extension

Thumbs up for Singapore-Johor Baru shuttle train - The Shuttle Tebrau, launched last Wednesday, offers seven trips a day in each direction. Checks by The Straits Times on Friday evening and yesterday morning found the carriages packed. The Shuttle Tebrau, launched last Wednesday, offers seven trips a day in each direction. Checks by The Straits Times on Friday evening and yesterday morning found the carriages packed.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES; Published Jul 6, 2015, 5:50 am SGT; Journey lasts five minutes, the immigration queues are shorter and there is no traffic jam...Information technology consultant Ann Ang, 44, found it "so much easier" to get through Singapore and Malaysian immigration checks in one go now, rather than having to hop on and off a bus on each side. "I don't have to keep carrying bags up and down the bus."...Now, trains depart from Singapore at 6.30am, 8am, 9.30am, 5pm, 6.30pm, 8pm and 11pm. But some passengers said they would like to see more services, particularly in the afternoon....





Johor-Singapore taxi services resume after licence extension Updated: 8:52 AM, July 4, 2015 SINGAPORE — Taxi services between Johor and Singapore, which have been halted since midnight on Wednesday (July 1) because of lapsed permits for Malaysian cabbies to ply the cross-border routes, have resumed after the Land Transport Authority (LTA) extended their licenses until July 31. The disruption arose because the LTA’s Malaysian counterparts did not receive the licence renewal documents despite these being sent last Monday....




19 April 2015:

Plan to ban lorries on Causeway

Plan to ban lorries on Causeway, VEP will affect business: SMEs By Chloe Wang UPDATED: 07 Apr 2015 23:38

Singapore SMEs say plans to ban heavy vehicles from using the Causeway and the new foreign vehicle entry permit will hit businesses that rely on daily deliveries from Malaysia.

Johor wants to ban heavy vehicles from using the Causeway, says public works official Published on Apr 4, 2015 4:20 PM - See more at:

6 April 2015:

Malaysia expected to levy $7.40 Vehicle Entry Permit for foreign vehicles from Aug 1 - Straits Times

Malaysia expected to levy $7.40 Vehicle Entry Permit for foreign vehicles from Aug 1 Published on Apr 4, 2015 4:09 PM; JOHOR BARU - Malaysia has said that it would be expected to start levying a Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) for foreign vehicles entering Malaysia from Singapore on Aug 1, Bernama has reported. "This is the first time Malaysia is implementing the charge and definitely it will take time in terms of procuring and installing the equipment," Bernama quoted Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Abd Aziz Kaprawi as saying on Saturday. He added that the equipment, to be installed at both the Woodlands Causeway and Tuas Second Link, would facilitate the charging of the RM20 (S$7.40) VEP. Datuk Abd Aziz also said the VEP on foreign vehicles crossing the border to Malaysia via other checkpoints, such as those at the Thailand border, would be the same, reported Bernama. He added that his ministry would discuss fare increases for express buses with the Land Public Transport Commission, according to Bernama. Responding to the changes, a spokesman for Singapore's Transport Ministry said: ""We will study the Malaysian levy and consider matching in some form after the details are confirmed." ... ....

14 January 2015: Malaysian sting operations to collect unpaid fines from Singapore motorists

Johor Baru op nets $900k in unpaid fines from Singapore motorists By Danson Cheong And Lim Yi Han; Published on Jan 14, 2015 6:13 AM; The six-day operation from Dec 27 to Jan 1 was conducted near and at Johor Baru immigration checkpoints. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN MALAYSIA

Malaysian traffic police, in a six-day operation, collected more than RM2.4 million (S$900,000) in outstanding traffic fines from Singapore motorists.... The operation, conducted from Dec 27 to Jan 1, caught 13,529 drivers with outstanding fines near and at Johor Baru immigration checkpoints.

Johor Traffic Police Chief Baharudin Mat Taib told The Straits Times that more than 15,470 fines were paid during this period, with almost $500,000 paid in cash.... The rest of the fines were settled by credit card.... He added that Malaysian officers will continue to conduct such sting operations regularly......

23 December 2014:

More tit-for-tat fee hikes on Malaysia VEP by mid 2015?

‘Resolve VEP fee issue amicably’   23 December 2014 @ 8:13 AM; JOHOR BARU: Malaysia and Singapore have been urged to discuss issues related to toll fees and the imposition of the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fee for the good of Johor’s Iskandar Malaysia region.... Pulai member of parliament Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said it was important for both sides to look at the bigger picture and take into consideration the total impact that any increase by Singapore would have on Iskandar Malaysia.... “It is time for both governments to resolve this issue and work together for the long-term benefits,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.... Nur Jazlan, who is also Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman, was responding to yesterday’s Singapore media report, which said its Ministry of Transport would be studying Malaysia’s move to impose a VEP fee of RM20 (S$7.55) for foreign vehicles from Singapore starting middle of next year.

3 August 2014: Singapore-Malaysia border crossing fees face tit-for-tat hikes

The Singapore-Johor crossings are heavily trafficked and its two road links are key to the supply-chain of the low-key traffic of essential goods and labour from lower cost Malaysia to the booming Island state. On traffic numbers, Malaysia sources estimate 300,000 vehicles (including 3,000 to 4,000 trucks and lorries) cross Johor-Singapore daily (presumably this is for both crossings?) while Singapore reported over 130,000 vehicle across the JB-Singapore Causeway and capacity of 200,000 vehicles for the Second Link. At the same time, the leaders and sovereign wealth funds of the two nations have come together in recent years to promote Johor as a hinterland and dormitory town for the higher cost Singapore core economy.

I have written about this topic several times since I first prepared a review of Iskandar Malaysia for the Rajaratnam School for International Studies (RSIS) in 2011. More recent postings on Singapore-Johor Iskandar topics in this blog include: a)


 (refer to 18 June 2014 update: China developers have significant investments in Malaysia, particularly in the Johor-Iskandar Malaysia zone which is developing as a northern adjunct to Singapore..."), b)


 on Johor-Iskandar & Malaysia power shifts, and c)


on Petronas' RAPID project in Johor. ISEAS is currently reviewing the final draft of my paper on "Political Contestation in Iskandar Malaysia: Views on economic integration during Malaysian GE-13" on research done end-2013, to be published as chapter in a book by ISEAS in 2014/2015 (highlights of Johor voting outcomes noted here -



On the cost of driving a Johor car to work in Singapore. A KL friend whose nephew lives Johor and works in Singapore mentioned that the monthly cost of running a Malaysia registered car in Singapore had gone up terribly, due to the increased Singapore VEP fee. The estimate was some SGD1,500 per month (petrol, unrevised border toll charges, new Singapore VEP and parking). If the 30-year old Mr Chin cited in the Bloomberg article below did the same, it would seem a significant chunk of his monthly salary could go to these costs. This would seem problematic, in addition to his long commute cum work hours. Another cross border commuter, Mr Chan working in Singapore says he leaves home 6.45am to sometimes after 11pm; causing apparent nascent marital problems. Thus, in the pursuit of the Singapore dream of a cheaper landed property, the "Mr Chins" would presumably have to find a cheaper form of transport than a Johor private car or else be priced out of this lifestyle. You would need to have a high enough income. A Singapore private car would avoid the new daily SGD 35 Singapore VEP fee of SGD700 per month assuming 20 working days. But it is more costly to purchase and may apparently face a tit-for-tat fee set by the Malaysian authorities anyway on foreign vehicles in its territory (see Malay Mail quote below).

Since the calculus above, Malaysia and Singapore have decided on hikes on crossing toll fees too (on top of the daily "usage fee"). At the JB-Singapore Causeway, before 1 August 2014 was SGD2.30 for a round trip, but will rise to SGD12.80 soon. Thus, a 20-day per month commute would cost SGD256 in such fees, compared to  SGD46 before. This could make the monthly Johor car transport fee amount to over SGD1,700 per month? Note that crossing fees for the Tuas Second Link are different.

Singapore argues that "Based on 2013 data, the VEP fee increase will only affect about one in ten foreign-registered cars. Other foreign-registered cars will not be affected as they enter and stay in Singapore on VEP-free days or during VEP-free hours," but this may nevertheless crimp the hopes of the lifestyle property seeking "Mr Chins" of Singapore.

A Malaysia newspaper article says that "Ties between the two countries over commuters plying the link are already strained following Singapore’s move to raise vehicle entry fees, which prompted Putrajaya to introduce a similar tax for foreign vehicles entering via the country’s southern border.... And following the report that Malaysia may increase toll charges for the Causeway by as much as threefold for inbound vehicles, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it will follow suit with an equivalent amount if the rumours prove true, according to The Straits Times today.... Once-testy relations between the two Southeast Asian neighbours have grown balmy in recent years, culminating in infrastructure joint ventures in both countries such as the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail link.... But the recent controversy over Singapore’s VEP increase and Malaysia’s apparent retaliation is again leading to strains in ties linking the countries that were part of the same nation from 1963 to 1965."

Thus, it would seem that the further development of Johor as a northern adjunct to Singapore is quite crying out for a direct cost-effective mass transport linkage to ease the problems of travel time and cost. It is a bit surprising that the Malaysia and Singapore authorities and their sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) so invested in promoting Singapore-Johor transboundary living (and selling high-end properties in Iskandar Malaysia) have chosen to jam up some of the key household financial economics of such a lifestyle before mass transport has been put in place.

New links:

Singapore to match Johor's new Causeway tolls 'in next few weeks': LTA Published on Aug 1, 2014 8:14 PM By Hoe Pei Shan; "SINGAPORE - Singapore will match Johor's new higher Causeway tolls "in the next few weeks", said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Friday night. "As details of Malaysia's toll revisions were not made known to Singapore earlier, LTA would need some time to operationalise the changes," said a spokesman. Should Malaysia reduce or do away with the toll charges, Singapore will follow suit, he added.... As of midnight Friday, cars entering Johor from Singapore through the Johor Baru Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex have to pay a toll of RM9.70 ($3.78), up from the previous RM2.90. Cars travelling from Johor to Singapore previously paid no tolls, but are now subjected to a new toll of RM6.80 ($2.70). While motorcycles continue to be exempted from the tolls, drivers of bus, goods vehicles and taxis now also have to pay more at the Malaysia checkpoint.... LTA currently imposes separate lower tolls for vehicles going from Singapore to Johor, but none for when they return.

When Singapore matches Malaysia's rates, cars making a round-trip can expect to pay a total of about $12.90 in tolls, up from the current $7.60, and more than five times the $2.30 before August 1

.... Meanwile, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) has expressed its concerns over the toll increases. In a statement to the media, the president of the SCCI, Mr Thomas Chua said the higher charges will increase transportation costs for businesses and affect the ease of commuting...."

source: Straits Times, 1 Aug 2014 article cited above

Thousands of motorists entering Singapore to suffer, say Johor MPs By Vanessa Ee-Lyn Gomes

Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - 14:48; "THOUSANDS of Malaysian motorists, who enter Singapore through the Causeway daily, would need to fork out more money following a revision in the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) and Goods Vehicle Permit (GVP) fees effective August 1..... Malaysian cars entering Singapore will be charged a VEP fee of RM90.05 per day, a RM38 increase from the current fee of RM51.46. The GVP for foreign-registered goods vehicles will be raised to RM102.91 per month compared to the current RM25.73 fee.... Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong admitted the new fees would greatly impact Malaysians who travel to and work in the republic. He added

an estimated 300,000 vehicles crossed the Johor-Singapore Causeway daily, most of which were Malaysian-owned....

The Pan-Malaysia Lorry Owners’ Association pointed out lorry operators would suffer the most because they would have to bear the cost of the fee increase directly as

some 3,000 to 4,000 trucks and lorries enter Singapore daily



a traffic jam leading to the Tuas Second Link crossing to Johor.

JB-Singapore Causeway, source: AFP picture on this webpage

Cut-Price Luxury Homes Fuel Singapore Tri-Nation Sprawl   By Sharon Chen  Jun 9, 2014 9:20 AM GMT+0800; "Darren Chin gave up a 15-minute train journey to his office in Singapore for a two-hour drive with a stop at passport control. The reason: By commuting from Malaysia, he can afford his own two-story home and car. “It’s worth it,” said the Malaysian financial adviser, who leaves his house before 6:45 a.m. to get to his job at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. (OCBC) on time. “I’m saving on rent and I’m paying for my own house.”... Chin is part of the expansion of Southeast Asia’s richest city across its borders as residents and companies seek property, labor and amenities, often at half the cost or less. The result is a three-nation urban complex with a population bigger than London and an economy that would rank as one of the fastest-growing in the region....

A five-bedroom, two-story home with private pool in Iskandar was advertised last month for 3.9 million ringgit. A similar-sized home on Singapore’s prime Sentosa district with a waterfront view was on sale for about 15 times as much.... The tri-nation super-city does have some unique problems. With only two road links to Malaysia, rush-hour traffic can cause delays of 90 minutes or more at immigration. More than 130,000 vehicles a day cross the kilometer-long Causeway, built in 1923

, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean told parliament in February.

The second route, a bridge opened in 1998, has the capacity to take another 200,000

...... “I try to leave Singapore as late as possible, or the traffic is very bad,” said Chan Ong Yong, a Malaysian truck driver who lives in Johor and works in Singapore delivering and installing sheet glass. “If I lived in Singapore, the rent would be too high and school would be too expensive.”..... Chan, a 30-year-old father of three, earns about S$3,000 ($2,393) a month, twice what he would get in Malaysia. The cost: Some nights, he doesn’t get home until after 11 p.m. “Sometimes I fight with my wife because I spend so little time at home,” Chan said..... Commuters like Chan face two stops for passport control and customs each way, with vehicles frequently searched for contraband goods that are cheaper in Malaysia. Singapore-registered cars entering Malaysia are required to have fuel tanks at least three-quarters full, as gasoline is less than half the price across the Causeway....."