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Wealthy Singapore must pay more for our water, says Dr M

PUTRAJAYA — Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has urged the Johor government to pressure Singapore on water supply agreements to achieve higher revenue.

A view of Johor's Linggiu Reservoir. Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said that it did not make sense for a wealthy country like Singapore to still be buying water from Malaysia at 3 sen per 1,000 gallons.

A view of Johor's Linggiu Reservoir. Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said that it did not make sense for a wealthy country like Singapore to still be buying water from Malaysia at 3 sen per 1,000 gallons.

PUTRAJAYA — Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has urged the Johor government to pressure Singapore on water supply agreements to achieve higher revenue.

He said while Johor had the advantage of being right next to Singapore, it was not utilising it fully.

He said it did not make sense for a wealthy country like Singapore to still be buying water from Malaysia at such a low price of 3 sen per 1,000 gallons.

“We need to fight for this. A rich country (Singapore) (cannot be) buying water from poor countries at such an unreasonable price.

“If we are reasonable, we must say that this payment is unfair. They (Singapore) are growing rapidly because we are supplying them water,” he said in his speech during the Johor government retreat in Putrajaya on Thursday (Feb 28).

Dr Mahathir has long called for Malaysia’s water deal with Singapore to be relooked.

In August last year, he had said he intended to increase the price of raw water sold to Singapore by 1,000 per cent, to reflect the increased cost of living from when the agreement between both countries was inked in 1961.

Under the 1962 Water Agreement set to expire in 2061, Singapore is allowed 250 million gallons (946.3 million liters) of water from the Johor river daily at 3 sen per 1,000 gallons.

Meanwhile, he said Johor could also take advantage of its ports, as Singapore does.

“Johor is in an equally strategic (location) as Singapore. Johor has some advantages and Singapore has some advantages.”

He said it was likewise with the issue of plantations, especially in the wake of falling palm oil commodity prices.

He contrasted this with the past successes of the British, who had made the oil palm plantation industry a huge asset for them.

“Their set-up was of such a large scale that they could profit more.

“But we may try to follow the way of the British (in managing farms) but small estates cannot emulate such wealth.” THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT 

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