While some Singaporeans were anxious after Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad indicated that his government will possibly look into the “manifestly ridiculous” price of the water Malaysia sells to Singapore, others have expressed incredulity at the extremely low price of water sold from Malaysia and Singapore and have questioned why water-related fees here climb despite the low price.
This comes after Dr Mahathir singled out water as one of the issues Singapore and Malaysia need to iron out as he revealed, “they are still paying 3 sens for 1 thousand gallons. And once the 1000 gallons is returned we can buy back 12 per cent of that. At the same time they can sell 100 gallons for 17 Singapore Dollars. That is a lot of money.”
Dr Mahathir’s revelation prompted several posts like this to pop up on social media this week:
The post above captures a question by a netizen Danny Ong who challenges why water prices here were hiked by a whopping 30 per cent given the low price Singapore pays its neighbors across the Causeway for water.
The 30 per cent water price hike was announced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat as he delivered Budget 2017 last year. The water price hike went into effect in two phases, with the first phase taking place in July 2017 and the second to be imposed this July. The water price hike is the first water price revision since 2000.
Responding to Ong’s question, which quickly began trending online after it was shared on Facebook – several netizens expressed that the reason why water prices increase here despite the low cost of water from Malaysia is the Government’s perceived “greediness”:
Some others, however, explained that the water price hike probably has more to do with the costs related to purifying the water, desalination and the like. These netizens’ explanations echo the authorities’ own assertion that the price hike will be utilised to maintain Singapore’s water infrastructure and for desalination.
The “costly but necessary” processes such as desalination and the investment into Newater plants contribute to the price hike, Finance Minister Heng indicated.