As reported by Malaysian media Bernama, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister of Malaysia Xavier Jayakumar said on Monday, Aug. 19 that Johor will no longer depend on Singapore for its treated water requirements by 2022.
“We have to make sure that Johor has sufficient treated water and does not need to get it from Singapore — which is why we have to provide new water treatment plants in Johor,” Xavier told reporters after meeting Johor Chief Minister Sahruddin Jamal in Putrajaya.
This was not the first time that a Malaysian government official declared that Malaysia will stop relying on Singapore for its need of treated water.
“The capacity must reach 260 million litres a day. We already have an understanding that by the year 2022, we will have this capacity.”
Inquiring whether this vision will affect the Water Agreement talks between Malaysia and Singapore, Xavier said the agreement continues to take effect and the effort will not be in the way of the two countries’ previous talks.
In March 2018, the former Johor Chief Minister Osman Sapian also said that the state will stop buying treated water from Singapore , however, at that time the statement was made, no explicit details were given.
Three weeks after that first pronouncement, he said the plan was for the southern state to put up new water treatment plants within three to four years. The objective was to reduce dependence on treated water from Singapore and to better manage its resources.
River pollution and Johor’s other water-related issues
On a separate occasion, Xavier said his ministry has agreed with the Johor state government on specific strategies to deal with river pollution and one of those was to efficiently manage its sewage waste.
This comes after Johor has been hit by a series of environment-related problems causing thousands of residents to become ill or have their water supply disrupted after its rivers and water treatment facilities were affected.
Some rivers, including the Johor River, have been polluted by chemicals. Likewise, water levels at major dams have fallen below the critical mark due to dry weather.
One expert recently said chemicals released into the water bodies in Malaysia are turning the fishes “gay.”
The 1962 Water Agreement between Singapore and Malaysia terminates in 2061. -/TISG