PM Lee invokes his dad, Lee Kuan Yew, in justifying water price hike

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong invoked his late father Lee Kuan Yew in justifying why raising the price of water was “absolutely necessary”. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the completion of the makeover of the Pang Sua Pond in Bukit Panjang, PM Lee pointed out how his dad was obsessed with water security for Singapore throughout his political life.

“It’s one of the things which (Singapore’s founding Prime Minister) Mr Lee Kuan Yew used to be obsessed with right from the beginning and right to the end of his life. And as a nation, we have to maintain his attitude towards water – the attitude that has brought us here. We got water security now because of our obsession. And by keeping this focus, we can stay secure into the future.”

Last month, the Government announced a 30 percent increase in the water price – to be phased in over two years. A huge public outcry followed the government announcement. PM Lee acknowledged that the Government should have spent more time explaining the rationale for the hike and what it would be doing to help households cope with it.

The Government’s Feedback Unit, REACH, said recently that a minority disagreed with the Government’s decision to increase water prices. The Government explained that the increase in water prices was to fund the higher costs of water production and to encourage water conservation.

REACH polled 1,111 Singapore citizens aged 20 and above, who were selected at random and weighted to be demographically representative of the national population in terms of gender, age and race. The estimated margin of error is 2.9 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

Mr Lee emphasised that water has to be priced properly because it’s scarce and that Singapore’s demand for water will go up as its economy grows. Climate change and Johor’s population growth will also affect the Singapore’s water supply.

“It’s not cheap to produce and consumers need to know how precious it is everytime you turn on the tap. And we need to discourage ourselves from using more water than we absolutely need to all of the time.”