So it seems that the Malaysian government is unable to resist the temptation of quick and fast money afterall.
Despite the fact that the success of the Iskandar project in general is greatly dependent on the spending of foreigners (chiefly Singaporeans and Malaysians working in Singapore), it seem counterproductive for the government to try gain additional tax revenue through the VEP, only to lose hundreds of thousands in the broader economy.
That said, the VEP isn’t confirmed yet, and given how things are done in Malaysia, there is a chance that there might be a U-turn in the decision ultimately (remember the ridiculous and extremely costly biometric custom system that caused massive jams and that was later abandoned?).
The government really needs to hire a better PR agency to vet the comments of their ministers, and other political leaders. I find it ludricrous that the Malaysian government took the suggestion from their UMNO youth so seriously to the point of implementation. Like, hello! The basis for this suggestion is retaliatory in nature, and comes from a total political greenhorn! :(
Here’s an excerpt of what the UMNO Youth Chief said…
“Even if we impose the fee, they will still come because where else are they going to go? They have no where else to go. They are still going to have to come to Malaysia.
“We don’t have to feel inferior about imposing the fee… they have no choice they are going to come. Let’s not feel so inferior… what is 10 or 20 dollars to them?”
“Let’s not sell ourselves short,” he said.
The main basis for the wanting to impose a higher tax seems like greed and ego!
To be very honest though, I am not surprised at how the Malaysian government is behaving – after all, they are not known to have a good track record in following through plans (think: crooked bridge, biometric system, etc). I guess this is the danger of investing in a foreign country. It could be that I am too used to the straight and narrow in Singapore (in this case, it’s a good thing) where the promises and plans made by the government are next to always seen through.
More importantly though, how does this impact one’s decision in wanting to make a move over into JB to live? Things have changed a lot in the last 2 – 3 years. When we first decided to move over to live in JB, the house prices were MUCH lower, the jams were predictable (and therefore avoidable), there were no massive plans for condos, and crime rate in Nusajaya in general was lower. It is definitely different now eh?
I still think living in JB has it’s perks, and I believe I will continue to stay here for a few more years as benefits (space, quality of life) still outweigh the cons. However, if Malaysian government implements the VEP, and the jams continue to worsen, and if the road systems in JB itself are not improved to ease traffic within the city itself, who’s to say Singapore won’t start looking more attractive again? :P