Malaysiakini NEWS

Singapore ready to take water issue to arbitration


Singapore is prepared to settle the water agreement dispute with Malaysia through a third party.

"Singapore has always been prepared to settle disputes by recourse to appropriate international third-party dispute settlement procedures on terms mutually agreed to by the parties.

"In fact, as far back as 2003, then-minister for foreign affairs S Jayakumar said that Singapore was prepared to agree to refer this matter to international arbitration by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the interest of resolving the dispute," the Singaporean Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

This was in response to Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah who said on Tuesday that Malaysia should take the matter to international arbitration if Singapore did not want to negotiate.

The Singaporean foreign ministry said that Singapore has been "clear and consistent" in their position that Malaysia had lost the right to review the price of water it sold to Singapore under the 1962 Water Agreement (62WA).

They said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad both expressed their differing views on the right to review the price during their meeting on Nov 12 last year.

"They expressed their willingness for officials to have further discussions to better understand each other’s positions on the right to review the price of water under the 62WA," the ministry said.

The attorneys-general of the two countries also met in December last year for this purpose, but their discussion was overshadowed by the Johor Baru port limits and the Seletar instrument landing system (ILS) issues.

"There was certainly no agreement between the attorneys-general on any matter related to the 62WA during their meeting. The attorneys-general will meet again to continue their discussions," the ministry said.

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