Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN
Malaysia has maintained its stand that it has the right to review the 1962 water agreement, and will take efforts to do so, says Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya.
He said although Singapore has alleged that Malaysia lost the right to review the deal, the fact remains that the agreement states that a review can be done after 25 years.
“Singapore’s attempt to say that Malaysia has lost the right to review the deal only shows its weakness and its attempts to twist the facts.
“The reality is in the 1961 and 1962 water agreement, it is clearly stated that a price review can be done after 25 years.
“As such, I would like to reiterate that Malaysia’s rights to review the price of water cannot be denied,” he said in a reply to Mohd Shahar Abdullah (BN-Paya Besar).
He added that Malaysia is now in the midst of starting negotiations again with Singapore to determine a price that would benefit both parties.
“The price of three sen per thousand gallons of raw water is too low, and does not benefit the country,” said Marzuki.
He added that Malaysia stated its stand to review the price of raw water during a bilateral meeting with Singapore in July.
However, Marzuki said Singapore had stressed that Malaysia lost its right to review the price in 1987.
He said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah reiterated that Malaysia has and will maintain its right to review the agreement at any time.
Marzuki also said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be visiting Singapore on Nov 12, and he may possibly raise this issue.
In June, Dr Mahathir said that the price of water being sold to Singapore was “ridiculous” and added that Malaysia was studying the case properly and will make a presentation on it.
In August, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the water agreement is “sacrosanct” and both nations must proceed strictly in accordance with its terms.
The water agreement is set to expire in 2061.
Under the agreement, Singapore is given exclusive rights to draw up to a maximum of 250 million gallons of water per day from Johor.
In return, Johor is entitled to receive treated water of up to five million gallons, or 2% of the water supplied to Singapore, at 50 sen per thousand gallons.