SEPANG: Singapore took out a full-page advertisement in the Asian Wall Street Journal yesterday to counter a media blitz by Malaysia on their protracted dispute over a water supply deal.
The advertisement carried in the daily yesterday said that Malaysia had sought a price increase of RM3 per 1,000 gallons of water, then demanded more than RM6 – 10 times more than the agreed 60 sen – and that it was Malaysia that unilaterally called off the package negotiations in October last year.
In an immediate response, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said that Singapore was again trying to distort and misrepresent points of discussions raised during the water talks.
While he agreed that the quantum was discussed during the negotiations, he categorically denied that Malaysia had ever agreed to the price review of 60 sen.
“But that was during negotiations, there was no agreement. We discussed quantum increases of 45 sen and 60 sen but Singapore had wanted the revised price to start from year 2061. We wanted it to start from the date of agreement with an escalating formula,” he told reporters at the KL International Airport upon his return from attending the Asia Europe Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bali yesterday.
Under the formula presented by Malaysia, the price would escalate until it reaches RM6 by 2061.
Syed Hamid said that he was stumped by the claims made in Singapore’s advertisement because when its Senior Minister (Lee Kuan Yew) wrote to the Malaysian Government, he always included a part stating that there would not be any agreement unless it was signed by both countries.
He said that Malaysia’s advertisement was not meant to initiate an advertisement war between the two countries but was merely in response to a book published by Singapore over the issue.
Syed Hamid also denied that Malaysia had unilaterally abandoned the negotiation, pointing out that the talks had stalled because it was “not going anywhere” after Singapore backtracked in the last meeting in October when it pulled back all the offers it had made at earlier negotiations and instead submitted a new formula based on Newater.
Asked about Malaysia’s position about going for arbitration to resolve the problem since Singapore had contended that it still reserved its position on Malaysia’s right to review the price, Syed Hamid said:
“If it is Singapore’s intention that we go for arbitration, then let us go for arbitration. But let us be clear that it is because both parties cannot agree to the price review and not because Malaysia unilaterally wants to decide to go for arbitration,” he added.
On the Government’s next move, Syed Hamid said it would seek a solution that was in accordance with both the law and the people’s expectations.
Related articlesProlonged water dispute will hurt Malaysia-S’pore tiesProspect of a merger in 1961 led to low pricingMalaysia' s stand on pricing consistentKL ‘using Singapore formula’Council puzzled over Singapore’s claimsJohor: We’ll stop buyingBackground to the Malaysia-Singapore water spat
Download from Star OnlineCopy of the water dispute booklet in pdf format (100K)
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