Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday that it is “not urgent” to review the water agreements between Malaysia and Singapore now. The 92-year-old leader’s latest comments come after he told Bloomberg recently that he intends to revisit the longstanding issue of water with Singapore leaders.
Dr Mahathir had indicated to Bloomberg’s Haslinda Amin that while relations with Singapore are “quite okay” there are “certain issues that we need to settle”. Identifying that one of these issues is water, Dr Mahathir said, “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 echoed these comments to Singaporean news portal Channel NewsAsia as well and said that the price of the water Malaysia sells to Singapore is “manifestly ridiculous”:
The Malaysian leader’s comments prompted Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assert that Malaysia must “comply fully” with the water agreements it has struck with Singapore. A spokesman for the Ministry said in a statement: “The 1962 Water Agreement is a fundamental agreement that was guaranteed by both governments in the 1965 Separation Agreement which was registered with the UN.”
It must be noted that Malaysia declined the opportunity to review the price of water when the two agreements reached its 25th year in 1986 and 1987.
In his latest comments on the matter, Dr Mahathir revealed that the Pakatan Harapan government has not discussed about the issue yet, indicating that Malaysia does not have an official position on the matter as yet.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Dr Mahathir referred to the Bloomberg interview and explained, “Since the reporter asked, I mentioned it.”
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