Johor 'will continue to supply water to Singapore'

Water pipes run the length of the causeway between Singapore and Johor.
Water pipes run the length of the causeway between Singapore and Johor.PHOTO: REUTERS

KOTA TINGGI • The Johor state minister in charge of public works has assured Singapore that it will continue to supply water to the Republic although the Malaysian state itself is facing a water shortage.

State public works, rural and regional development committee chairman Hasni Mohammad said Johor will continue to respect the agreement signed by Malaysia and Singapore in 1962.

"Under the agreement, we have to supply 250 million gallons of water at three sen per litre to Singapore daily. Even though the selling price does not make sense, given the current environment, it is stipulated under the agreement," he said in Bandar Penawar, Kota Tinggi, last Saturday, adding that the agreement will last for 100 years until 2061.

Datuk Hasni said several quarters have urged the Johor government to stop supplying water to Singapore because of the current water shortage. He did not name them.

"The first 50 years of the agreement had already ended with Singapore handing the Pontian and Gunung Pulai reservoirs back to us in 2011," he said. He said Johor will need help from the federal government to ensure it has enough water beyond 2018. "We must meet the demand... for development and investment being poured into the area, especially for Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang," he said.

"We have asked for an allocation of RM660 million (S$223.7 million) under the 11th Malaysia Plan to build a new dam at Sungai Ulu Sedili," he said. The 11th Malaysia Plan is a five-year economic blueprint prepared by the central government.

Mr Hasni said a week ago that water rationing for areas in and around Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang affecting 800,000 people could be introduced by the end of this month although the rains have started falling, reported Malay Mail Online. Water rationing has been carried out since the past month, affecting some 85,000 people in the Mersing and Kota Tinggi districts.

Singapore's Environment and Water Resources Minister, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, said last month that Singaporeans should do more to conserve water as the dry spell had led to water rationing in several Malaysian states and caused water levels in Johor's Linggiu Reservoir - which helps to meet half of Singapore's water needs - to fall to a new low.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2016, with the headline 'Johor 'will continue to supply water to S'pore''. Print Edition | Subscribe