Johor hopes to raise price of water sold to Singapore

State may charge 50 sen per 1,000 gallons of raw water, up from 3 sen, says Menteri Besar

JOHOR BARU • Johor's Menteri Besar Osman Sapian said the state hopes that it can raise the price of the raw water that it sells to Singapore after discussions with its southern neighbour.

The price could well be raised from the current 3 Malaysian sen (1.01 Singapore cent) per 1,000 gallons to the same level that water is sold to Johor's northern neighbour Melaka - at 50 sen per 1,000 gallons, he told a news conference yesterday. "It is about time that we raise it. Maybe we will increase it to the price of raw water that we sell to Melaka," the Astro Awani news site reported him as saying.

"Or maybe with further discussion, the price that will be sold to Singapore will be less than the price sold to Melaka, but it will not be at the current price that Singapore buys it now."

Datuk Osman said that he discussed the issue with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last week, the news site of the private TV channel said.

Mr Osman said Malaysia will study the water agreement with Singapore to see whether the price could be reviewed.

"This needs further discussion. I feel that if the Johor government were to raise it to a reasonable rate, Singapore will accept it because that is our hope," he added.

Tun Dr Mahathir had, in recent interviews, criticised the 1962 water deal as "too costly" and "ridiculous", and said Malaysia would approach Singapore to renegotiate the terms of the deal.

Dr Mahathir said last month: "We are studying the case properly and we will make a presentation", but he said the issue is "not urgent".

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the 1962 treaty was guaranteed by both governments in the Separation Agreement, which was registered with the United Nations when Singapore broke away from Malaysia in 1965.

Singapore says both sides must comply fully with all the provisions of these agreements.

The water agreement, which expires in 2061, entitles Singapore to draw up to 250 million gallons a day (mgd) of raw water from the Johor River.

In return, Johor is entitled to a daily supply of treated water of up to 2 per cent, or 5 mgd, of the water supplied to Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2018, with the headline 'Johor hopes to raise price of water sold to Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe