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Johor Chief Minister suggests raising price of water sold to S’pore as much as 16-fold: Report

SINGAPORE — The Johor government said on Thursday (July 5) that the time has come to raise the price of raw water it sells to Singapore, adding that it may ask for a price hike of up to 1,600 per cent that it hopes the Republic would accept.

Johor Chief Minister suggests raising price of water sold to S’pore as much as 16-fold: Report
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SINGAPORE — The Johor government said on Thursday (July 5) that the time has come to raise the price of raw water it sells to Singapore, adding that it may ask for a price hike of up to 1,600 per cent that it hopes the Republic would accept.

Speaking at a press conference, Johor Chief Minister Osman Sapian said he had discussed the issue with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last week.

“It is about time that we increase (the price of raw water). Maybe, we will increase it to the price of raw water that we sell to Melaka (which is at 50 sen, or S$0.17 per thousand gallons),” Astro Awani reported him as saying.

“Or maybe with further discussion, the price of the water that will be sold to Singapore will be less than the price sold to Melaka, but it will not be at the current price (3 sen per thousand gallons) that Singapore buys it now.”

The Chief Minister added that he will go through the water agreement with the Republic with a fine-tooth comb to see whether a price increase can be done.

“This needs further discussion. I feel that if Johor were to increase the price of raw water at a reasonable rate, Singapore will be able to accept it. That is our hope,” he added.

On June 25, Dr Mahathir said water is among issues with Singapore "that we need to settle", adding: "We will sit down and talk with them, like civilised people."

Speaking later in a separate interview with Channel NewsAsia, the premier said Malaysia will present its case on the water agreement to Singapore in due course.

"I think it is manifestly ridiculous that you should sell water at 3 sen per thousand gallons. I mean, that was okay way back in the 1990s or 1930s, but now, what can you buy with 3 sen. Nothing," he said.

Under the 1962 Water Agreement, which expires in 2061, Singapore's national water agency PUB may draw 250 million gallons of raw water from the Johor River daily at 3 sen per thousand gallons.

In return, Johor is entitled to receive a daily supply of up to five million gallons of treated water - or 2 per cent of the water supplied to Singapore - at 50 sen per 1,000 gallons.

Singapore has said that the cost of treatment is in fact RM 2.40 per 1,000 gallons while Malaysia sells the treated water to Johor citizens at RM3.95 per 1,000 gallons.

Singapore has also been regularly supplying Johor with up to 16 million gallons of water a day.

Asked about Dr Mahathir's comments, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the 1962 Water Agreement is a fundamental agreement guaranteed by both governments in the 1965 Separation Agreement which was registered with the United Nations.

"Both sides must comply fully with all the provisions of these agreements," the ministry added in a statement on June 25.

On June 28, Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has expressed his gratitude to Singapore for helping the state during earlier drought seasons.

"Thank you to the Singaporean Government for helping Johor during the drought seasons and when we had our water crisis," he wrote on the Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page.

He said Johor and Singapore have always helped each other and hoped "the close ties and friendship forged hundreds of years ago last forever." AGENCIES

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