The Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) requirement instituted by Malaysia, which made Singaporeans who frequent Johor Bahru slightly panicky initially when introduced, appears to have stalled in its implementation.
CNA reported on the snafu on the first day the VEP was supposed to kick in on Oct. 1, 2019.
The official word from Malaysia?
"No enforcement until further notice," a Malaysia transport ministry spokesperson said.
And VEP will not be enforced during both peak and non-peak hours until further notice.
Not implemented as planned
In 2017, it was announced that foreign-registered vehicles entering Malaysia would need a VEP.
This was to tackle car theft, and to prevent vehicles with outstanding fines from leaving.
The first sign that implementation was running into some hurdles was when it was announced on Sep. 23 that the Malaysian MOT would defer enforcement of the VEP.
All outbound traffic at the Malaysia side of Tuas Checkpoint (Kompleks Sultan Abu Bakar [KSAB]) and Woodlands Checkpoint (Bangunan Sultan Iskandar [BSI]) will not be checked for VEPs during peak hours.
There was no word then if VEPs would be checked during the off-peak period.
On Oct. 1, CNA did a test by driving into Johor via the Causeway at noon and driving out at 2pm -- during off-peak period.
There were no checks done.
On the way in, one officer said VEP checks had begun and would be conducted on the way out.
On the way out, the officer said the checks had not started, but when they did, they would be conducted on the way in.
Singaporean drivers confused
The latest VEP developments are leaving Singaporean drivers confused, but not surprised.
The best make-do solution?
Drivers save their VEP registration confirmation slip as a temporary substitute for the radio frequency identification (RFID) tag.
This was the advice given by the Malaysian Road Transport Department (JPJ) in earlier emails.
But even this verification process was apparently not conducted by the Malaysian immigration officer, according to CNA.
RFID tag installation backlog
Compounding the delay of the VEP implementation is the backlog of vehicles seeking to install the VEP radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag.
Time slots for the month of November are not opened yet, according to an JPJ email addressing the issue of appointment slots.
The email said: "We open the available slot monthly. So, we advise you to try check again later by the end of the month for the next available slot."
An RFID installation centre at KSAB will be opened, according to the Malaysia MOT.
Currently, four locations are available to tag your vehicle, none of them are in Singapore.
1. Pandan RnR
2. Gelang Patah Southbound RnR
3. Angsana Open Carpark C
4. Lima Kedai Toll Plaza
The first two locations can be found closer to the Woodlands Checkpoint, while the other two are located nearer to the Tuas Checkpoint.
Drivers can still continue entering Malaysia as usual "until further announcement on VEP enforcement from Ministry of Transport Malaysia", the JPJ email said.
"However, please do bring along your VEP confirmation slip along with all supporting documents as proof of your VEP registration," it added.