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Singapore Government’s VEP Hanky Panky Hurts SMEs

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KOH YS:
Dear Redwire,

I own a textile and fabrics company and have a shop in Singapore and a factory in Johor. Every week I have to drive to JB about 4-5 times to make sure the operations there are running smoothly, do stock-taking and sometimes delivery. I am very upset and worried about the new VEP fees that Malaysia says it wants to make Singaporean vehicles pay. If the Malaysia government really makes us pay RM50 to enter Johor, that means every week I’m going to have to pay S$80 extra. It’s an unfair and additional cost to my business. Every month I’ll have to pay out another S$240 – S$300, and this is not even including the VEP cost on my lorries and trucks, and the higher toll fee introduced by Johor!

It’s not the case that I go to Johor to get up to hanky-panky or for other “fun” reasons. I’m running a business, and just like that my operating costs increase for no reason except politics between Singapore and Malaysia. The Singapore government should have considered the interests of businesses here when they wanted to introduce the VEP on Malaysian vehicles. Did the government not think that Malaysia could pull the same stunt on us too?

I am just a SME owner, not a Temasek Holdings or GIC. Every cent is important because in the end if I cannot absorb the cost, I will have to make my customers pay more for the same product, and I think that is very unfair to them. I base my operations in Johor because costs are lower and I can charge my customers fairly. Now, this kind “I hantam you, you hantam me” fees are definitely going to hurt my business and my customers.

I cannot blame Malaysia for wanting to introduce the VEP. It’s the Singapore government that came up with this idea first and implemented it first so it’s natural that they retaliate. Already as a SME owner I am not making huge profits, just enough to take care of my family and my workers. The Singapore government with its big VEP idea is making this much more difficult. Can the Singapore government do something to help SME owners like myself?

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