Israel and Jordan drop Singapore from water management project in favour of Chinese

Wang Qishan (centre R), China's Politburo Standing Committee member and head of China's anti-corruption watchdog, talks to President Xi Jinping (centre L) as they leave after the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee - RTS93PD

Last April, in his week-long visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, PM Lee said that water management as a key sector in the Middle East that Singaporean companies could do well in.

He pointed out that Singaporean companies could potentially play a role in the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal project.

“One of our companies is interested in bidding for the project and we hope that they put in good bids and will be well considered,” he said.

The project, jointly managed by the Jordanian and Israeli governments, involves building a canal to bring the waters of the Red Sea into the Dead Sea. It would help to desalinate water and generate energy at affordable prices for Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The first phase of the project is expected to cost more than US$1 billion. The media reported that Hyflux, Sembcorp and Keppel are some of the Singaporean companies that have a track record in water management and treatment.

“Not every (Singaporean) company has a good fit with Israel or with Jordan. These (water management and technology) are fields where there is a good fit,” PM Lee added.

Singapore kicked out of selection

However, it was later announced that the management of the project has shortlisted 5 companies in the final round of selection. Singapore is not inside:

1. CNTIC Consortium from China
2. Hutchison Water International Holdings
3. Korea Water Resources Corporation
4. Mitsubishi Corporation
5. Suez International SAS

Israeli Minister welcomes Chinese involvement in project

In a news report published on Sunday (4 Jun), Israel’s Minister of Regional Cooperation, Tzachi Hanegbi, was said to have welcomed China’s involvement in the project:

“Ninety-five companies began three years ago, and only five are left, one of them a Chinese company,” Minister Hanegbi said. He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines at the recent Beijing forum on China’s Belt and Road initiative. “In the end, one will be picked to run the project.”

The state-owned Chinese company’s success in reaching the shortlist could pave the way for other Chinese firms to seek work on the project, especially as Beijing pushes investment and infrastructure to the region and beyond under the massive Belt and Road Initiative, Minister Hanegbi added.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has already pledged more than US$100 billion in its Belt and Road Initiative. If the Chinese company wins the contract, it would represent one of the few countries that has maintained good relations with both the Palestinians and Israel.

“What can be China’s best involvement is in the projects Israeli and Palestinians are pushing together, because this is probably the basis for gaining trust with the people,” Minister Hanegbi said.

“China has a balancing and moderating role in the Middle East and China is part of any effort that is relevant to coordinate UN Security Council,” he added. China is one of the 5 permanent members of UN Security Council.

If the Chinese wins the contract, how likely is Singapore to get subcontracts from them? If we get a piece of the pie will help answer the question if Singapore’s alignment with the United States’ ‘rebalancing to Asia’ strategy has irreparably damaged our relationship with China.

Source: FB Note


  1. Well, well, well…. Israel dropped Singapore from the water management project? The same Israel that our Gahmen risked relationships with our neighboring Muslim countries to suck up to all this while? That must really hurt, no?

    • He priced SG out of world’s competition by loading GLCs with those ineffective white maggots, & then up our entire country’s biz cost with every now-&-then-hikes.

    • International Political pressure is the thingy. If that dishonourable Son miscalculate his move, Singapore is doomed. His old man is an expert in balancing between the superpowers. His Son failed to master that. And the worse is he has messed up internally and externally. We are losing our status in the international stage.

  2. I wonder what this article is trying to stir? So many factors are in play and you just merely want to stir on Sg/China relationship for a project in another country?

  3. You Reap what you Sow. You make your bed, you lye in it. Singapore is is a chicken fry for China. You must pay the price for appeasement. LKY would have never allowed this to happen. Too late. You are done – HISTORY.

  4. Without over-interpreting the decisions of Israel and Jordon, I am certain the panel of evaluating experts have weighed in on the engineering strength(s), technology and support capacity the respective consortiums can offer.
    Read this:
    Between 2003 – 2007, when Singapore’s RO water reclamation took effect, it was not our unique technology. Singapore rode on the backs of Japanese water treatment technology, while getting a homegrown company to adapt and develop such technologies, with aspirations to make water resource management a growth sector.
    Even if we had succeeded with developing our own technologies, the scale of which will not be what Israel and Jordan seek in desalination (not reclamation of clean water from sewage using RO membranes).
    Many other engineering considerations aside, our homegrown flagship company/consortium would not have stood a chance against companies like Mitsubishi in water treatment and resource management.
    The real kicker here is our model of growing businesses must change. We can no longer function as system integrator of engineering systems developed by others. We need to develop, and own our own.
    But as with the way things have been done all along, plucking lowest-lying fruits with cheap labour and buying proprietary technology, makes us inferior to countries and corporations with a strong history of technology research and development.
    If we cannot manage our small train system network efficiently, how can we manage a full turnkey water resource engineering feat, that will affect the security and survival of two nations in the tumultuous region of the Middle-east?
    It is quite obvious we never stood a chance against engineering and technology powerhouses.

  5. An island state will never match a super power. LHL has miscalculated his strategy. He has not achieved his old man credibility and farsightedness. Failed achievement.

    • How far a country goes also depends on how intelligent its citizens are and not just the govt. two hands to clap. Ultimately it’s the people that put those govt to lead the country. If people keep having an illusion that the current govt is as good as the last even with evidence to proof otherwise, this will be how clever the people are with the current govt. lol

    • Matter of opinion, JX Chen..Yes Mr. LKY was extraordinary, Mr. GCT stood on his shoulders so does LHL stand on Mr. GCT’s level, Mr. LHL doing well Globally, growing our GDP, standard of living, higher welfare Budget still having surplus for savings.. helping the poor, all have roof over their heads, no one in hunger, young children are well educated n the list go on n on…

      Anyone outside PAP can do what they did ? Please highlight them, talk is cheap..

      China dare to talk big before year 2,000 ?
      They have a population of 1.35 billions against us 5.5 millions but again Singapore ?? is the no.1 investor in China ??..Something we can be proud of.. you cannot disagree !!!

    • Richard Ong as I am always reluctant to ask this question…Who did you vote during the election? To your last sentence, I disagree.

    • PK Ang Partially Wrong. GDP surge was due to the increase of immigrants, foreigners and new citizens. As the number of people grows in Singapore, the incumbents collected more GST, domestic economy grows benefit the ruling but affects the local bred citizens. Cost of living increase, everything increase and there are no government subsidies on basic needs. Ask yourself this question, will your offsprings survive in the future with he housing becoming so expensive and daily expenses going up let alone thinking of own a car???? Career…..forget about it since the incumbent has been forking out tax payers money to support overseas students. Bringing in foreigners to grab jobs. Also Parents of Local born students need to think of other alternative way to support their children in their academic education.

    • Immigrants ?, assume they, FTs/FWs spent $50 a day, with 2 millions of them, they spent $100 millions, a day $3 billions a month, or $36 billions a year for housing, food, transport n others…

      Our local population are earning back what they spent, they paid more taxes n higher cost of living, higher than us without subsidies..

      Our local registered companies are also making $$ out of their hard works..n pay income Tax, etc…

      Imagine, how many companies will close shop, from Transportation, Food courts, telephone ☎️ companies n the list go on n on.. locals will loose their jobs too, Taxes base will be limited, welfare Budget will be cut from current $78 billions…p.a..

      What happen then…?
      Any opposition has better way to run the Nation besides depending on our reserved $$$ ?

      Talk is easy ! Better alternative ideas need years n years of trying, through failure n amendment of policies to achieve the best results …

      Remember, no policy please ALL… so don’t cherry pick to discredit.. people who are responsible…

    • PK Ang hello mickey do your calculations and facts before you roar like a mickey mouse. I did not mention about opposition and all I am referring to is to get a suitable candidate to replace this nincompoop. Why are you shifting the focus to opposition???

    • Nincompoop? Who n how much you really know about them, their job functions, replacement ? haha sound like you know better than Leaders ..

      I’m a “Mickey Mouse” haha, so you must be a “LION”

      Calculations n facts ?
      Wander, who’s not presenting them…

    • If within PAP is not good enough to meet your wishful thinking then where will the alternative be ? Not from Opposition? Can’t be outsiders, right ?

    • PK Ang die hard mickey, your jumping into conclusions makes you look exactly 101% mickey house. Luckily you are not voted into the parliament otherwise…..we are done!

    • JX, LHL miscalculated, sound great words.
      If U can see that miscalculation then U will have alternative.
      Please share those miscalculation u spotted n your alternative.
      Just to know more about it from u.
      Advance apology, if it is uncomfortable to you.

    • Chia Chiownam Read more of what the PRC and the American scholars are commenting. From there you will know their views on Singapore action and miscalculation. Read and understand what the scholars’ views and Analysts and not just for the sake of reading, Chia.

    • Reading their views is one thing, looking back at our own situation is important.
      They see us from their own thoughts not from our. We should not conclude anything from their views without knowing our own position.

    • Chia Chiownam whatever it is…each and individual has their own perspective. U dun have to agree my view at all. Thank you for your input. Case closed

  6. Looking at the whole picture tell us that the incumbents have failed badly in governing this island state. Singapore is no longer respected in the international stage

  7. From a leader who preach us to go steal others’ lunch, so what is he going to do after his lunch got stolen and he is still the highest paid politician in the world?! Go holiday?!

  8. When u have unqualified people at the TOP just to fill positions and leading the country, the only way we are heading is DOWN, to 3rd world. Vote for it and it will come true.

  9. Dog eat dog world. Both Israel and Jordan must have done their sums and concluded that China gives them a better deal. We could have partnered with the Chinese. But our government see them no up. We rather partner with the vile jepun. On top of that our foreign policy isn’t right. To Beijing. Can we say we are surprised.

  10. CN now has many water mgt coy and even more construction coy that handles much much bigger projects than sg coy. Any sub contracting work will first be given to local coy of where the projects are and then to CN sub contractors

  11. Cannot even manage a competitive water pricing for own country, how to manage cheaper water for others. Instead of reducing the water prices, the cost when up by 30 % . Water obtained from the sewerage system. Do people from other country wants to drink water obtained from the sewerage system?

    • Water is considered resource. To understand the reason why the water usage has been surge is due to the increase of population. More people more usage. Same goes to the infrastructure. Without upgrading your infrastructures when populations increase will only tells that you have no emergency plans and less farsighted of what will happens next.

    • Michael, old men/women age 65 n above earning $6 to $8 an hour as Cleaners, depend on location..

      Others depend on their skill n education..

      People are earning $1,500 to $15,000 monthly, living the TOP 10% aside..

      First, we have to ask, what are we ?..

      Complaining don’t get us anywhere, is all real hard work that make the difference..

  12. I don’t think our consortium has enough track records n the scale of most companies out there so it’s a natural choice, why people has to bring two different issues together?

  13. we thought that Israel and Singapore are natural partners? Apparently not! Israel has given us the boot! Guess LHL did not lick it well enough! Perhaps he is not as well thought of as his late father!

  14. China has technology and experience to build Hugh infrastructure projects.
    As well finance them.
    When Stinkapore boasts of our help to build HDB style flats in China, they remind us of who build the Great Wall

  15. Well, that is Israel for you. I remember I was there back in 2009 and I was held back in the customs for 2 hours. Obviously because I’m Muslim (Singapore Passport doesn’t matter). Guess what, a bunch of American tourists including businessmen were with me and were held back for 4 hours! That’s where I learnt of Israel’s don’t trust anybody attitude. The headline doesn’t surprise me at all.

  16. Even if Singapore got the contract it only subcontracting to others to finish the job. In the end, cost will be higher, customer will not be happy with the result and don’t pay up and eventually the project will be abandoned. Therefore, in the end, both parties lose out.

  17. SG no longer respected on international stage. Well the worse is SG citizen not respecting own country, n not standing together knowing this is happening.
    So much say about fail, miscalculation etc, do one really know the actual process.
    Popular phrase by Tibetan monk when they are ask about something. “Do not believe what I say, think it over first. “

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