PM Lee: Room for discussion on HSR, but will not budge on water agreement with M’sia

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Photo: YouTube screengrab

After many statements – in both official and unofficial capacities – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong confirmed Singapore’s stance on the water agreement with Malaysia and on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.

Malaysia remains intent on re-negotiating its water agreement with Singapore and raising prices in order to reflect increases in the cost of living.

Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad expressed intentions of increasing water prices tenfold, earlier last week.

K Shanmugam says, “Interesting news: Malaysia apparently wants to increase water price to Singapore by 10 times”

During his National Day Rally on Sunday, August 18, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reiterated The Republic’s stance on both the water issue and the HSR project.

He said, “Dr Mahathir has said that he wants to review the 1962 Water Agreement. This is not a new issue, it’s come up before when Dr Mahathir was previously PM”.

While PM Lee expressed no intentions of Singapore veering from the existing water agreement with Malaysia, he took a different front with regards to the HSR project.

PM Lee said, “We entered into these two projects in good faith, after careful negotiations, because they benefited both countries”. He also expressed the want “to find a constructive way forward”.

Singapore continues to incur costs for the HSR project, despite Dr Mahathir expressing sentiments of wanting to defer the project.

Dr Mahathir: Either reduce the price of HSR or we’ll do it at a later date

Dr Mahathir has even made several public statements about cancelling the HSR project as he explained of the Malaysian government facing debts of about RM1 trillion (S$337 billion).

PM Lee ultimately underlined Singapore’s stance on the project during his National Day Rally. He said that there are equally binding agreements on the HSR project and that “Both sides have to carry out what has been agreed to, unless we mutually agree to vary the terms. These set out clearly the duties of each party, and what happens if either party wants to change or to terminate the agreements”.

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obbana@theindependent.sg