Singapore: Malaysia lost its right to review the price of raw water sold to Singapore after choosing not to do so in 1987, Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said.
Singapore thus welcomed the Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman’s recent statement that they would honour the 1962 Water Agreement and that any pricing review is possible only if Singapore also agreed to it, he added.
Shanmugam was responding to a parliamentary question by Ellen Lee (Sembawang GRC), who had asked whether the bilateral water agreement allowed for Malaysia to raise the price of raw water sold to Singapore at any time before its expiry in 2061.
Singapore’s stand, conveyed to the Malaysian government on several occasions, is that neither country could unilaterally change the price of water sold to Singapore, just as neither could change any of the terms of the 1962 agreement.
Shanmugam, who also holds the law portfolio, said: “This is no ordinary agreement. It was guaranteed by both governments in the Separation Agreement in 1965, which was registered with the United Nations.”
Turning to Singapore’s position that Malaysia had lost its right to review the water price, the minister traced it to 1987. This was 25 years after the 1962 agreement, when there was a right to review the price jointly.
“However, Malaysia consciously chose not to review the price. It had good reasons for this,” he said.
One reason is that Malaysia benefits greatly from the current pricing arrangement, he noted. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network