Monthly Archives: October 2008

No cashcard? Use credit card for ERP

Channel NewsAsia

Motorists will soon have an alternative mode of payment for ERP charges.

In a link-up between the Land Transport Authority and DBS Bank, motorists will be able to subscribe to a new credit card scheme that will allow any bank’s Visa/MasterCard credit card to be used to pay ERP charges.

The scheme, which starts from November 5, will benefit motorists who may forget to insert their CashCards in their IUs or may not have the time to top-up their CashCards when the card balances are low.

Jeremy Soo, Managing Director and Head of DBS Consumer Banking Group, Singapore, said the partnership with LTA reflects the bank’s commitment to provide convenience to customers through innovative modes of e-payment.

Motorists who wish to enjoy the new credit card scheme, which comes with a monthly subscription fee of S$2.50 must first subscribe online to the scheme via the One.motoring or MotorPay websites from November 5.

Once an email notification is sent to the person who signs up, the successful applicant can go card-free through the gantries.

ERP charges which will then appear in the monthly credit card bills can also be paid the usual way via stored-value CashCards if the driver chooses to.

LTA Chief Executive, Mr Yam Ah Mee, said the scheme will benefit fleet owners such as delivery companies and other registered motorists as they will no longer have to search for top-up machines, saving valuable time for their operations.

“LTA will continue to develop innovative means for e-payment channels for the convenience of motorists,” he added.

COE prices fall across the board

Channel NewsAsia

COE prices for vehicles fell sharply across the board in the latest bidding exercise.

The Certificate of Entitlement (COE) for big cars (over 1,600cc) saw the biggest fall. It tumbled S$6,811 to S$7,589, its lowest level since February 2007.

Open Category COEs, which are used mainly for cars, dived S$3,057 to S$12,001.

For small cars of 1,600cc and below, the COE price fell S$2,812 to S$10,989.

Meanwhile, the premium for commercial vehicles dropped S$4,396 to S$11,503.

For motorcycles, the new COE price is S$1,609 – down S$280 from the previous tender exercise.

New ERP gantry at Eunos Link; two gantries up charges


It will cost motorists more to pass through the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries at Marina South and on the slip road from Ophir Road during evening peak hours from next month.

The charges will go up by 50 cents to S$1.50 between 6.30pm and 7.30pm from November 3.

This follows a quarterly review by Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA).

LTA said it will also implement ERP at a new gantry before Eunos Link for westbound traffic between 7am and 8am.

LTA said this is because traffic speeds have fallen below the threshold.

Motorists will be charged S$2 between 7am and 7.30am, and S$1 between 7.30am and 8am.

Car in cigarette bust was leased to cop

Christopher Tan, Senior Correspondent
The Straits Times

A HIRE-PURCHASE company stands to lose tens of thousands of dollars when a car it leased to a police officer was impounded by Singapore Customs in June.

The car, a Hyundai Trajet MPV, was used for cigarette smuggling.

In 2005, Kenso Leasing sold the car on hire-purchase to Staff Sergeant Misnawi Asmawi, a decorated police officer who has since left the force.

In July, Kenso was informed by Customs that it had seized the car on June 19. It was then being driven by one Abdol Jabar Abdul Aziz, who has since been accused of smuggling cigarettes.

The relationship between Abdol Jabar and Mr Misnawi – who is uncontactable – is unclear.

Kenso is contesting the forfeiture of the car. Its lawyer, Mr Vijai Parwani of Parwani & Co, argued in court yesterday that the penalty had no benefit as a deterrent.

‘If the party who is convicted of the crime is the owner of the vehicle, then yes, by all means forfeit the vehicle… But where the owners are finance companies or other innocent parties, then the mandatory forfeiture will not have any deterrent effect,’ he said.

Kenso’s general manager Anthony Lim told The Straits Times that it had lost close to a dozen vehicles this way in the 20 years it had been in business.

He added that the company had been cautioned once by the courts to be more careful and to screen its customers.

‘But who can be safer than a police officer?’ he asked.

Singapore Customs told The Straits Times that it forfeited 917 vehicles between 2004 and last month in connection with smuggling activities.

This number is five times that for the preceding three years and works out to about 16 vehicles a month, excluding those seized by other enforcers such as the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority and Central Narcotics Bureau.

Finance and leasing companies can apply to recover the vehicles’ taxes, but they still stand to lose out on interest payments and the sum which the vehicles would have fetched had they been sold or re-exported.

These companies have the option of going after the hire-purchase customer, and Kenso has done so in this case: It has started bankruptcy proceedings against Mr Misnawi.

Mr Lim said: ‘My question is, if a passenger on an SIA plane was nabbed for smuggling in drugs, will the authorities seize the plane?’

Mr Parwani said the decision to apply for forfeiture of his client’s vehicle ‘must be subject to the test of reasonableness’.

‘In order for the court to decide whether Customs has exercised (its powers) reasonably, the department must disclose the factors that it considered in coming to its decision,’ he added.

District Judge Liew Thiam Leng yesterday granted Singapore Customs two weeks to respond to Kenso’s arguments. The case will be heard again next month.

Petrol prices down five cents, diesel 10 cents

Imelda Saad
Channel NewsAsia

Pump prices are down again – the second time in just over a week. The last time fuel prices were cut was on Oct 7.

Taking the lead are Shell, Singapore Petroleum Company Limited (SPC) and Caltex.

The three companies have cut petrol prices by five cents per litre for all fuel grades. The price of diesel is reduced by 10 cents per litre.

The latest revision follows a series of petrol price cuts since July 2008, after a drop in crude oil prices.