Mahathir: Wealthy Singapore must pay more for our poor country’s water

The Malaysian Prime Minister has urged the Johor government to put more pressure on the Singapore government regarding existing water agreements, in order to earn more revenue from selling water.

Singapore and Malaysia have had a long-standing water agreement, in which resource-scarce Singapore buys water from Johor. The current agreement expires in 2061.

Singapore draws and uses the water from the Johor River up to a maximum of 250 million gallons of raw water per day.  In return, Singapore provides Johor with treated water up to 2% of the water imported. It is one of the country’s four main sources of water.

Dr Mahathir has called for a re-evaluation of Malaysia’s water agreement with Singapore for a long time. Yesterday on Feb 28, he added to his rhetoric, stating that it did not make sense for a wealthy country like Singapore to still be buying water from Malaysia at such a low price of 3 sen per 1,000 gallons.

“We need to fight for this. A rich country (Singapore) (cannot be) buying water from poor countries at such an unreasonable price.

“If we are reasonable, we must say that this payment is unfair. They are growing rapidly because we are supplying them water,” he said in his speech during the Johor government retreat in Putrajaya.

In short- he is of the belief that since Singapore is rich enough and we benefit so much from the water, it should rightfully pay more for it.

Last year in August, he called for the price of water to be increased by 1000% to reflect the increased cost of living.

We are of the view that the price of 3 sen for 1,000 gallons of raw water was decided in 1926. At that time, the value of 1 sen could buy a lot of goods, but now with 1 sen we can’t buy anything, even with 3 sens we can’t buy anything.”

“So, if you think that the price set in 1926 still remains until the year 3000 — another millennium — is it reasonable? I feel it is unreasonable. Until when?”

Malaysian PM Dr Mahathir’s words to reporters after launching the National Community Policy in Puchong.

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