If Singapore and Malaysia were siblings, the physical bond that they share would be best represented by the Johor-Singapore Causeway – a modest 1km road that links the city of Johor Bahru in Malaysia across the Straits of Johor to the town of Woodlands in Singapore.
Singapore and Malaysia was once part of the same federation and has always been connected by geography, economics and strong ties of kinship. As Singapore celebrates its Golden Jubilee and Malaysia celebrates its ‘Kemerdekaan’ (Independence) this month, both countries have progressed tremendously over the years and benefitted from their unique relationship with each other. It is not uncommon for Singaporeans or Malaysians to go across the causeway daily for work or for the best of food.
60,000 vehicles uses this link daily and the figures more than doubled during the festive period.
It is therefore puzzling to observe the numerous announcements by both governments in their causeway policies during the recent months.
Fare hikes, biometric scanning, complaints of inadequate booths, and tolls were just some of the scourge that daily commuters have to face. Instead of facilitating movement across the borders, policies are doing the exact opposite and are discouraging movement across the causeway.
Private cars are now expected to pay five times more in Causeway tolls than ever before.
History has proven that Singapore and Malaysia adopts a tit-for-tat approach for the tolls. Drivers on both sides can only curse their Governments for implementing a policy that does not makes any sense nor bring any benefit to the people.
Why is no one is coming together to the discussion table to come up with a master plan that is mutually benefiting in the long run.
(Stock picture form Google Image)
The causeway will not go away.
The ties of kinship will get stronger over time.
Geographically we are also not moving away anytime soon.
What needs to change is therefore the government’s attitude in managing the causeway tolls.
Our kinship ties must not be held ransom in this injudicious political pomp.