Malaysia, Singapore AGs to continue water agreement talks

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (right) with Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan at a press conference at Wisma Putra, Putrajaya March 14, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (right) with Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan at a press conference at Wisma Putra, Putrajaya March 14, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

PUTRAJAYA, Mar 14 — The attorneys general (AG) of Malaysia and Singapore will continue discussions on the 1962 Water Agreement to better understand each country’s positions, said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah. 

In a joint press conference with his Singaporean counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, he said the discussions were to find an amicable way forward. 

“Despite our different stances on the agreement, it is crucial to discuss with one another so as to preserve the vital relationship between both sides, and improve ties with one another,” he said. 

Vivian echoed his sentiments, saying Singapore hopes to ensure the underlying spirit of the two countries will remain amicable. 

“We both have differing views, but both will continue to discuss and reach a mutual understanding on what the price of water should be,” he said. 

Bilateral relations between the federation and the island republic have been cold since Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said last year that the price of raw water being sold to Singapore is “manifestly ridiculous”. 

Despite a meeting with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong when they expressed willingness to better understand each other’s positions, the meeting between the two AGs in December made no headway as disputes over airspace and maritime boundaries overshadowed the discussions. 

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