Malaysia foreign minister to lead team for water talks with Singapore: Mahathir

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (right) during a press conference with Malaysian journalists after ending of his three-day working visit to Japan Nov 7, 2018
Also present Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah. Photo courtesy Bernama images File Photo

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 (NNN- Bernama) — Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah will lead a group of Malaysian officials in the revision of raw water prices sold to neighbouring country Singapore, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Without disclosing the details when the negotiations would take place, the Prime Minister said the negotiating team was “working on it” and it also comprised relevant officials from Johor.

“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 cents we can’t buy anything.

“By right, price of goods should be current. Today we are not talking about millionaire, but billionaire because income has increased tremendously. So, if you think that the price set in 1926 still remains until the year 3000 Another millennial Is it reasonable, I feel it is unreasonable. Until when…,” he told reporters after launching the National Community Policy here today.

The issue relating to the water deal resurfaced in the middle of last year when Dr Mahathir criticised the price of raw water sold to Singapore as ‘unreasonable’ and said he planned to renegotiate the terms of the deal.

The water deal, which ends in 2061, would entitle Singapore to receive up to 250 million gallons a day (mgd) of raw water from Sungai Johor.

Singapore pays 3 cents for every 1,000 gallons of raw water, and resells treated water to Johor at 50 cents for every 1,000 gallons. Johor acquired daily supply of treated water up to 2.0 per cent or 5.0 mgd of raw water supplied to the republic.