No petrol in Singapore for Malaysians

From Friday ( 30 May 2008 ) all foreign registered vehicles will not be able to fill up at any petrol stations 50 km from the border. This is about Thai and Singaporean registered vehicles really. Mind you Singapore already has a rule on Singaporean vehicles filling up to 2/3 before leaving the Republic. However ensuring stock of supply and depriving the potential to replenish supply are two distinct issues.

The issue is petrol subsidies, and the corollary is about neighbouring people using the benefits of differential pricing. We are all guilty of that. We’d buy a lap top in Singapore and not in Low Yat, if the price is markedly different, and for Singaporeans and Thais, our prices are markedly different.

There is a philosophical tangent, and also a practical one. I think from the view of logic, we are being a little hypocritical since we buy cheaper goods when over in their countries. The practical one is more complex. There are billions of Malaysian taxpayers ringgits tied to the petrol subsidies, and you can’t help feel leached off when someone just comes over for the cheap booze (petrol I mean).

Yet the policy of barring foreign vehicles from accessing our petrol stations 50kms from the border might be a little inhumane and possibly calamitous .

A Thai and Singaporean in those zones must constantly on fear. A weekend shopper in Johor Bahru with a Singaporean plate will be in no man’s land if he or she knows that there is not enough petrol to get home pass a busy checkpoint and has to drive out of Johore Bahru Municipality and access petrol. And so the same for Thail drivers in Kubang Pasu.

Where is the compassion? And the Minister Shahrir Samad who is issuing this ruling as Minister of Domestic Trade is a Johor boy, no lost love between neighbours eh?

The honourable might have to remember, all nations reserve the right to reciprocation.

Singapore can also apply the 50km rule, which means no Malaysian registered vehicle can get any petrol in the republic.

So a) all Malaysian registered cars have to stop driving into Singapore for long trips, b) we risk having many of our cars stranded in Singapore without petrol.

I wonder if the ministry thought about that. And I would love to know what they would advise Malaysian cars stuck in Southern Thailand, in some of the most dangerous parts with the additional limitation of no petrol access, because we forced the Thais to reciprocation?