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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Are the latest measures practical and reasonable?

NOW and again the Government announces measures to be taken against foreign-registered cars.

Some years ago, it considered imposing a levy on Singapore-registered cars entering Malaysia which was later scrapped after hearing the views of Johor Baru leaders and its business community, and also Malaysians using Singapore-registered cars to work in Singapore.

Then last year, the Government temporarily barred petrol stations in border-states like Johor from selling fuel to foreign-registered cars, but this ban was later rescinded following complaints.

Now, the Government announced that foreign-registered cars will only be allowed to pump a maximum of 20 litres of fuel when travelling within a 50km radius from the border. Since this is another attempt to impose measures against foreign-registered cars, one has to ask whether it did so after taking into consideration past views and complaints.

And assuming that the Government will by this time press ahead and implement the measures, one has to question its practicality and reasonableness in trying to ensure that foreign-registered cars do not leave the country with more than 20 litres of fuel in the tank.

How practical is it for enforcement officers to determine the volume of fuel in the tank of a foreign-registered car? One can only imagine the tediousness of such a time-consuming exercise which could result in massive congestion at border checkpoints.

One hopes that the Government has thought through carefully the impact and sensibility of this latest measures. One also hopes that in implementing the ban, the Government is able to discern between foreign-registered cars owned by foreigners and those owned by Malaysians – if indeed, the measures are to prevent foreigners from enjoying the fuel subsidy provided by the Government.

DR E. TAY,

Johor Baru.

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