Workers Walk Across Johor-Singapore Causeway
Two bus drivers refused to pay the new toll charges, which came into effect today midnight, at the Johor Bahru immigration complex and effectively blocked the bus lane with their vehicles this morning. Hundreds of workers who commute to Singapore for work had to alight and walk along the Causeway, even though pedestrians are usually not allowed on it, to make it to work on time.
The Star reported that groups of people started making the journey over water on their own two feet since 5am. Traffic started returning to normal only at about 9am.
Apparently, the companies that had hired the bus operators had not discussed about the increase in toll cost with the operators. In early July, Singapore made the announcement that it would increase the Vehicle Entry Permit fare applicable to foreign vehicles entering the country; a week ago, Malaysia responded by announcing new toll fares for all inbound and outbound vehicles at the Johor Bahru checkpoint. Thus, vehicles that travel between the two countries have to pay additional fares either way.
The Straits Times reported that the Malaysian government is reconsidering the move. According to the report, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said, when speaking to media, “We have asked the works minister to see whether there are issues related to this and if there are, we will address them. We don’t want to burden local road users.” Well, should this not have been considered before implementing the toll hike?