Water issue: talks ongoing, still far from going to ICJ



© Arnon Mungyodklang | 123rf

He said the closed-door discussions at officers level between Malaysia and Singapore in the republic today regarding the maritime issue was conducted in a positive atmosphere.

Today there was a meeting at officers level between both countries regarding the maritime issue, he told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here today.

Last week, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the people of Johor needed to be wiser in fighting exploitation by Singapore, especially over the low price of water being sold to the country.

The Prime Minister said Singapore, as a developed nation with a per capita income of US$18,000 (about RM73,300), should not be buying water from Malaysia, whose per capita income does not even reach US$10,000 (about RM40,700) at a low rate of three sen per 1,000 gallons since 1962.

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The issue regarding the water agreement between the two nations became a hot topic again in the middle of last year when Dr Mahathir said the price of raw water sold to Singapore did not make sense and that he planned to re-negotiate the terms of the agreement.

The agreement, which ends in 2061, entitles Singapore to draw up to 250 million gallons a day (mgd) of raw water from Sungai Johor at three sen per 1,000 gallons.

Johor then buys treated water from the island republic at 50 sen per 1,000 gallons.

Dr Mahathir was also reported to have said that Singapore would lose if the water issue was taken to the ICJ because the price paid for raw water did not make sense.

The Prime Minister said both nations should discuss the matter first before taking the dispute to the ICJ.


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