Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 03/06/2014 20:59 | By Channel NewsAsia

Malaysia did not formally approach S'pore for review of raw water price

Malaysia did not formally approach S'pore for review of raw water price


Malaysia did not formally approach S'pore for review of raw water price

SINGAPORE: Malaysia did not formally approach Singapore for a review of the price of raw water, in fact, it lost that right in 1987, said Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

He reiterated that the 1962 Water Agreement provided for a joint review in 1987 -- after 25 years -- but Malaysia chose not to do so then.

Mr Shanmugam was responding to a question in Parliament on Thursday over media reports that Johor wanted to review the price of raw water it sells to Singapore.

He said Singapore had conveyed its position to the Malaysian government at the highest level, on several occasions.

Mr Shanmugam said neither country can unilaterally change the price of raw water sold to Singapore, as that would be a breach of the Separation Agreement and international law.

Malaysia had consciously chosen not to review the price in 1987 because it "benefits greatly" from the water deal.

Johor buys 16 million gallons of treated water per day from Singapore, at 50 sen per 1,000 gallons.

Mr Shanmugam said that's just a "fraction of the true cost" of treating water, which includes building and maintaining the water purification plants in Singapore.

He added that Malaysian leaders have acknowledged that they benefit from the current agreement.

Mr Shanmugam said because Malaysia did not exercise its right to review the price in 1987, Singapore then proceeded to make investment decisions to develop the Johor river.

"Singapore then took several actions which also benefited Malaysia. This included building the Linggui Dam at a cost of $300 million which has increased the yield of the Johor river and enabled both Johor and Singapore to draw water from it during this dry season," he said.  - CNA/de

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