Book on water negotiations


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 01 Jul 2003

Other News & ViewsCompiled by LOO YOK SOI, LAM LI and S. ARULLDAS

MALAYSIA is considering the publication of a book on negotiations with Singapore over the water issue to counter allegations made by the island republic. 

Utusan Malaysia yesterday quoted Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar as saying that the move was in response to the publication of a booklet in Singapore entitled Water Talks? If Only It Could

He said it was necessary for Malaysia to clear the air and counter the baseless allegations contained in the booklet. 

“We must present the true picture that Singapore is the one which was unfair and unreasonable,” he was quoted in a front-page report in the daily. 

The booklet published by the Singapore’s Information, Communications and the Arts Ministry was also uploaded on the ministry’s website at http://www.mita.gov.sg. 

The booklet can be downloaded from the website and is available in the book stores in two versions – English/ Chinese or English/ Malay – for RM11 a copy.  

It contains documents exchanged between the two countries on the issue and speeches made by Singapore Foreign Minister S. Jayakumar in Parliament.  

Syed Hamid said his Singapore counterpart should have looked for more positive means to improve ties between the two countries and stop the accusative attitude. 

“The booklet does not contribute to improving bilateral ties and it made it look like Singapore is not interested in engaging with us in a positive manner. 

“Singapore is only interested in finding faults with Malaysia,” he said, adding that Malaysia would not resume water talks with the republic until it had adopted an attitude of intending to resolve the problem through a fair and reasonable agreement. 

Berita Harian front-paged a report that the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry would check the profits registered by manufacturers of VCDs, CDs and DVDs before fixing the price mechanism for the items, which had been listed as control goods last Thursday. 

The ministry’s secretary general Datuk Dr Sulaiman Mahbob said the information would be obtained from the Inland Revenue Board to enable the Government to draw up a price that would benefit both consumers and those in the industry.  

He added that the ministry would rope in the help of the Statistics Department following a lack of co-operation from industry players to disclose their real earnings. 

He said the ministry had also engaged a consultant for a second opinion to ensure the price mechanism was well studied before being implemented. 

“We believe operators enjoyed a high profit margin based on the huge price difference between the original and pirated copies. Our investigation showed that pirates were still able to make a profit if VCDs were sold at RM3.50 a copy. 

“Even if we multiply the price of pirated copies by several folds to accommodate other costs incurred for producing original copies, it is still unlikely to cost RM40 (the common price for original copies),” he was quoted as saying.  

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