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Singapore, Malaysia willing to have more talks about water agreement

SINGAPORE — The longstanding issue of the water agreement between Singapore and Malaysia was discussed between the prime ministers of both countries at a meeting here on Monday (Nov 12).

Singapore, Malaysia willing to have more talks about water agreement
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SINGAPORE — The longstanding issue of the water agreement between Singapore and Malaysia was discussed between the prime ministers of both countries at a meeting here on Monday (Nov 12).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad “expressed their differing views on the right to review the price of water under the 1962 Water Agreement”, but they also expressed their willingness for officials to have further discussions to “better understand each other’s positions”.

Dr Mahathir is in Singapore to attend the 33rd Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) Summit and related meetings. It is his first official visit here since becoming Malaysia’s prime minister after the May polls.

During their meeting on Monday, the two leaders had a wide-ranging discussion on bilateral and regional issues, the ministry said.

Singapore and Malaysia have tussled over the price of water for decades. Malaysia sells raw water to Singapore under water agreements signed in 1961 and 1962. The first expired in 2011 and the second will expire in 2061.

The pacts were guaranteed by the Malaysian government in the Separation Agreement that established Singapore as a sovereign state in 1965.

At the height of the Asian Financial Crisis, the two sides entered into a six-year-long negotiation on the matter, but this was later called off by Malaysia.

On Monday, Malaysian news media The Star Online reported that Malaysia has “officially informed” Singapore that it is asking for a review of the price of raw water sold to Singapore.

Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying that he raised the matter during his meeting with Mr Lee. He added that Singapore did not agree to revise water prices, “but at least they appear to be willing to state their case and for us to state our case”.

 

Related topics

water agreement Malaysia Lee Hsien Loong Dr Mahathir Mohamad

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