Malaysia's fuel ban on foreign motor vehicles

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 (Reuters) - A temporary curb on foreign motorists buying fuel at Malaysian petrol stations will begin on Monday, two days later than earlier planned, local media reported on Saturday.

A Domestic Trade Ministry official said the change was made to allow all parties involved to be ready.

"This is to ensure that all parties involved in the implementation of the rules, including traders and users especially foreigners, understand the guidelines," Iskandar Halim Sulaiman was quoted as saying by Berita Harian.

Malaysia had earlier said filling stations in its towns bordering Singapore and Thailand would be temporarily barred, starting Saturday, from selling fuel to foreign-registered vehicles in a move aimed at curbing the abuse of subsidies.

Hundreds of Thai and Singapore motorists cross into Malaysia daily to seek cheaper diesel and petrol.

The Malaysian authorities have said the ban would be lifted when a new fuel subsidy mechanism is in place to ensure that only deserving Malaysians receive the subsidies. (Reporting by Liau Y-Sing; Editing by Valerie Lee).

It's another way of saying- people from Singapore and Thailand, please don't drive into Malaysia. And considering Malaysian Permanent Residents in Singapore- please don't come home. And it's still Visit Malaysia Year till August 2008. Instead of banning foreign car owners from buying petrol why not sell them petrol at a higher rate. The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry should study and come up with a rate structure which allows the selling of petrol to foreign registered vehicle owners at the market rate not an outright ban. Come up with the price structure, then brainstorm on a mechanism to regulate and control the petrol sales to foreign vehicles. Not an outright ban of petrol sales to Singaporeans and Thais.

Singaporean and Thai tourist arrivals to Malaysia make up about 50% (10.5 million) and 8% (1.6million) of total tourist arrivals in 2007 (source: Malaysia Tourism Board). Average tourist spending in Malaysia was slightly above RM2,000 per tourist in 2007. Average spending per tourist per night was slightly above RM300 in 2007. Given the short distance between Singapore and Johor, the obvious logical choice for Singaporeans is to drive-in rather than to fly into Malaysia. Whilst Thai tourists fly and drive to Malaysia in an equal ratio, about over 95% of Singaporeans drive across the Causeway. With the ban, Singaporeans, the biggest market segment of tourist arrivals, cannot drive in Malaysia any more. I hope the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and Ministry of Tourism (by consultation) has studied the impact on Malaysian tourism before banning petrol sales to this market segment.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shahrir Abdul Samad and Tourism Minister Azalina Othman, did not you all discuss about this beforehand? You guys would not have lasted a day in the corporate sector with this kind of performance.


  1. Instead of banning foreign car owners from buying petrol why not sell them petrol at a higher rate.

    Exactly. I have the same thing in mind when I heard about the fuel ban.

    Just sell it with a higher price, duh!

    - yc

  2. A fairer system is to charge a fuel tax based on ... say 3/4 tank on ALL vehicles at exit points going out from Malaysia. This way foreign tourists (and foreign businessmen) are not penalised for travelling within Malaysia. Of course anti-smuggling enforcement actions should also be in place.

    Too stupid to administer?? Why don't we ask S'pore to tell us how??


  3. I am a malaysian and I work in Singapore, drive a Singapore registered car but live in JB.

    The Singaporeans were shell shocked on the first day of the news on the fuel ban. It was an expected reaction for such a drastic measure by the Malaysian Govt. But a few days went by and they all started smiling again with their usual sarcastic retorts on the Malaysian Govt ever flip-flop policy. From Monday the 2nd of June the date was then postponed to the 9th of June and now the ban is only for cars and not bikes.

    And the Govt missed it during the parliment session to discuss this issue.

    I strongly urge the Malaysian govt for once please have some dignity of being straight,cut and right. No on gets subsidy in fuel or food in Singapore. And they pay tax on these commodities too. The tax money is then used to subsidise other sectors such as medical treatments.

    The initial ban must go ON and for all foreign registered vehicles,bikes inclusive.There are a lot of SuperBikes in and out of Singapore. The fact that Singapore Govt implements the 3/4 tank policy is not to be taken as serious factor since they hardly check the indications. Once in a "blue moon" that is when a new trainee Security in under training, the he/she may ask one to wind down the window. Most of them leave with at least 1/2 tank and many also tweak their fuel quantity indication with a special switch. I am sure the Singapore securities know these too but just can't help it.

    Currently for every litre of petrol pumped IN by the foreign registered vehicles, the Malaysian Govt has to bear RM 1.00. Whilst in Singapore its full price plus tax without mercy. And where do the Singaporeans go for medical treatment? In their own country of course since they get the subsidy as a citizen/PR.

    Malaysian Govt should eventually sell fuel to foreign registered vehicles at not only unsubsidised rate but with tax too. The tax money collected from foreign vehicles can then be channeled to ease the burdens off Malaysians.

    Singapore Govt has recently said a BIG "NO" to any form of food subsidy for its people and they are proud of their S$300 bilion reserves. Malaysian Govt is being very humane to continue helping its own people with all form of subsidy. Hard to find such a country in this world politics besides.

    To the Malaysian Govt, have NO FEAR. It is not sort of a revenge or something, just do what is right. Obviously the local business people and petrol kiosks will reject the ban since they have to ensure their own pockets are full- darned care about the general Malaysians.

    I will be experiencing the ban or the extra fuel price to pay. How stupid right?......I would rather pay and contribute towards the Nation building in Malaysia then fill the tanks in Singapore.And of course the unsubsidised fuel plus tax should be implemented all over malaysia.There are plenty of Malaysian cars crossing the borders despite Singapore being very expensive. For Singaporeans who are genuine about getting into malaysia, life is as usual. In fact Malaysians working in Singapore earn Sing dollars ma!With such a ban/pricing, the number of cars across the border would drop and many would then simply prefer public transport and that would be me included.