Malaysia’s land borders finally reopened on April 1, and many Malaysians working in Singapore got to return home without Covid-19 testing and quarantine. Many Singaporeans crossed to Johor as well, having sorely missing their usual jaunts across the Causeway.

Aside from grocery shopping, filling up the car’s fuel tank is one of the “must dos” for Singaporeans when visiting Malaysia. Because of the strength of the SGD, petrol is much cheaper here, even RON 97, which has recently hovered around the RM4 per litre mark. To compare, RON 95 is currently priced around SG$3 (RM9.31) a litre in Singapore, while RON 98 retails for SG$3.47 (RM10.77) a litre.

As such, foreign-registered vehicles are prohibited from buying RON 95 petrol, which is heavily subsidised by the government. Yet, that was what we saw over the weekend (if the image was current), when a Singapore-registered Toyota Estima was snapped filling up with the yellow pump at a Petronas. That’s the colour for RON 95 at Petronas. The viral picture has caused anger, and the government has issued a response.

Domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said that petrol station operators selling subsidised petrol to foreign-registered vehicles, including motorcycles, will face stern action. He said his ministry has periodically issued instructions to all petrol companies and petrol station operators near the Singapore border to ensure that the RON95 petrol sales ban is enforced.

“The ministry has also ordered all state ministry offices bordering Singapore and Thailand to intensify monitoring and inspections as well as to take stern action against any party that violates the Control of Supplies Act 1961 (Act 122) and (Control of Supplies Regulations 1974),” he said in a statement yesterday, reported by Bernama.

According to the act, penalties include fines not exceeding RM1 million or a jail sentence of not more than three years, or both, for individuals, and fines no more than RM2 million for entities or companies that violate the act.

The minister said that KPDNHEP’s enforcement division has been instructed to conduct an immediate investigation and be more aggressive in its monitoring efforts at all petrol stations, especially those near border states to avoid leakages of subsidised petrol to foreign vehicles.

Nanta added that more aggressive enforcement activities will also be conducted with the launch of Ops Pantau 2022 yesterday. The mission is to ensure that supplies of products are adequate and sold at affordable prices, as well as to ensure compliance among businesses following the complete reopening of the economic sector and the country’s borders.

By the way, Singapore-registered cars are already enjoying waived Road Charge and no toll on the Causeway and Second Link for a week from April 1.