Malaysiakini News

Three sen water price ridiculous! Dr M wants S'pore to dive deeper into its coffers

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Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is seeking to renegotiate the terms of the water agreement inked between Malaysia and Singapore.

He described the current price tag for the water sold to the republic as “ridiculous”.

"I think it is manifestly ridiculous that we should sell water at 3 sen per thousand gallons. That was okay way back in the 1990s or 1930s. But now what can you buy with 3 sen? Nothing.

"We are studying the case properly and we’ll make a presentation," he told Channel NewsAsia.

Under the current agreement which expires in 2061, Singapore receives 250 million gallons of raw water daily at 3 sen per 1,000 gallons. Malaysia then purchases back a portion of that at 50 sen per 1,000 gallons.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television aired earlier today, Mahathir also touched on the water price issue.

"Water is among the issues with Singapore that we need to settle. We will sit down and talk with them, like civilised people," he said.

The report also compared Mahathir's comments to his first 22-year stint as prime minister, from 1981 to 2003, when he bickered with Singapore on water and land issues.

It noted that the island state would have the most at stake as it had relied on Malaysia for nearly half of its water needs through a series of agreements, the first of which dates back to 1927.

In January, former premier Najib Abdul Razak and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued a joint statement affirming the terms of the current water agreement.

In March 2017, Singapore's deputy premier Teo Chee Hean said the country must be psychologically prepared to face water shortages if its reservoirs run dry and when the water agreement with Malaysia ends in 2061.

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