KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — Singapore could be stalling for time in its water dispute with Malaysia as the city state will most likely be self-sufficient in its water supply when its current deal expires in 2061, former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin said.
In an interview with Hong Kong-based newspaper, South China Morning Post (SCMP), Daim reportedly implied that Singapore could be using delaying tactics by not agreeing to amend the 1962 Water Agreement.
“The 1962 agreement expires in 2061. We believe by then Singapore would be self-sufficient as far as water demands are concerned and would no longer need to purchase raw water from Malaysia.
“So maybe Singapore is trying to stretch the dispute till such a time when it can tear up the agreement without any loss,” Daim was quoted as saying.
However, he also reportedly said that Singapore’s recent willingness to discuss the water dispute was a significant milestone.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said last month both countries have agreed to seek an amicable resolution to the dispute, including bringing the matter to the global community.
The prime minister said he broached the topic during the 9th Bilateral Leaders’ Retreat with Singaporean counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, in Putrajaya earlier this month.
Presently, Singapore purchases raw water from Johor at a price of 3 sen per 1,000 gallons and resells treated water to Malaysia for 50 sen per 1,000 gallons.