KUALA LUMPUR: The booklet which carries Malaysia’s side of the story on the water dispute with Singapore hit the streets of the Klang Valley yesterday.
A check by The Star at various bookshops found that the issue was a hot topic among the public.
The booklet, entitled Water: The Singapore-Malaysia Dispute, The Facts, is an initiative by the National Economic Action Council (NEAC) to quash allegations by Singapore on the water issue, made in the republic’s booklet, Water Talks? If Only It Could, released in April.
The NEAC booklets are being distributed at strategic locations including 90 Petronas Mesra vendors, KL Sentral, Petronas Twin Towers, the Kinokuniya bookstore at KLCC, the information counter at MidValley Megamall and KL International Airport in Sepang.
Although the price of three sen was printed on the cover of the booklet (an ironic reference to the price of three sen per 1,000 gallons of raw water Malaysia sells to Singapore), they were given out free to the public.
One of the earliest who snapped up a copy was Singapore High Commission office messenger A. Tharamani Rajh who took several copies from the Kinokuniya outlet.
“Singaporeans like to think they are more affluent and better than us. Even their currency is higher than ours. So, why are they paying less than us for their water supply?” said make-up consultant Marissa Abdullah, 33.
She said it was “high time” Malaysia responded to the allegations as Singapore was constantly giving the wrong impression about the issue to its people and the rest of the world.
Contractor Yeo Hock Lin, 45, said he had been following the issue for a long time and felt that Singapore should pay more for the water.
“The advertisements (in the newspapers) is a good move to create public awareness about the issue,” he said.
A student, Khairul Amilin Abdul Hamid, 22, however, chose to stay neutral on the matter, saying that he wished to hear both sides of the story.
“I hope both governments can settle the argument amicably,” he said.
Clerk Liana Kamarudin, 22, said that during the SARS outbreak in the region, Singapore did not hesitate to stop the import of fruits and vegetables from Malaysia.
“So why does it still want to buy our water but is sticky about it? It is now clear who is not co-operating,” she said.
With an initial print run of 20,000 copies in each of the three languages (English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese), the booklet details Malaysia’s uphill task in seeking a fair price and fair deal for its water supply to the island republic.
The Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese versions are set to be available by the end of the week.
The A4-size booklet is the culmination of a media campaign launched last week.
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Download from Star OnlineCopy of the water dispute booklet in pdf format (100K)