JOHOR BARU, March 6 — In the spirit of goodwill and neighbourliness, the Johor Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) today appealed to Singaporeans to urge their government to review the existing terms of the 1962 Water Agreement between Malaysia and Singapore, to make it a more just deal.
Johor PPBM media director Mohd Solihan Badri claimed Singaporeans knew well that water has become such a precious commodity especially due to the impact of climate change on our water resources.
As a result of this effect on the water system, he said Malaysians have had to endure frequent water shortages in recent years.
“After 57 years, we cannot still sell a precious commodity like this (water) at the dirt cheap rate of three Malaysian sen (one Singapore cent) per 1,000 gallons of raw water to Singapore.
“It is even more ludicrous that we are buying back this treated water from Singapore at the rate of 50 sen per 1,000 gallons,” said Mohd Solihan in a statement to the media today.
Under the 1962 Water Agreement, which expires in 2061, Singapore is entitled to draw up to 250 million gallons a day (mgd) of raw water from the Johor River at three sen per 1,000 gallons.
Johor is entitled to buy five mgd of treated water from Singapore at 50 sen per 1,000 gallons. Singapore has said this price is heavily subsidised and below the cost of treating the water. Singapore has, in practice, been supplying 16mgd of treated water at Johor's request.
Mohd Solihan’s appeal to Singaporeans also reached out to their moral standing on the issue.
“Surely, your conscience will tell you that this is a raw deal for the people of Malaysia and especially Johoreans, many of whom may be your own family members.
“Do you not feel guilty that you are enjoying drinking water that you have bought so cheaply from your kin?” he questioned in his statement.
Mohd Solihan, who is also the Tenang assemblyman, said such a deal does not augur well for the good relations, which are anchored on mutual trust and respect, that Malaysians and Singaporeans have enjoyed through the years.
“I appeal to the people of Singapore to take cognisance of this fact and voice to their government how morally wrong it is to benefit from our goodwill through such a lopsided agreement,” he said, adding that the Singapore government should reconsider the terms in the agreement and make one that is mutually beneficial.
On February 28, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s urged the Johor government and those in the state, to speak up against what he felt was a lopsided and “morally wrong” water agreement with Singapore.
The Langkawi MP, who is a staunch critic of the 1962 Water Agreement, also termed Singapore as a “rich country” profiting off a poor country, that is Malaysia.
A day later, the Johor state government also announced plans to be self-sufficient in treated water instead of relying on Singapore.