Singapore disputes Johor official's cloud seeding claims

The Sungei Lebam dam in Kota Tinggi, one of two dams involved in a dispute over territorial concerns. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JOHOR BARU - Singapore has disputed a Malaysian official's claims that it refused to let Johor carry out cloud seeding above two dams due to territorial concerns.

Water levels at the dams have dipped below critical marks in the Malaysian state.

State public works, rural and regional development chairman Hasni Mohammad reportedly said Singapore would not allow cloud seeding at the Sungai Lebam dam in Kota Tinggi and the Layang dam in Pasir Gudang as it would encroach into its territory. As a result, Johor would have to find alternatives, said Datuk Hasni, according to The Star in a report on Thursday.

In a statement issued the following day, the Consulate-General of Singapore in Johor Baru expressed surprise at the claims which it dismissed as "baseless".

"On the contrary, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has always coordinated closely with Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) to facilitate various flight activities," it said.

"However, Singapore has not been approached recently on cloud-seeding operations, whether by DCA or any other Malaysian agencies. If Datuk Hasni has information indicating otherwise, he should share it with Singapore so that we can look into the matter."

The Consulate-General stressed that Singapore fully supports cloud-seeding efforts in Johor and has previously offered to assist in such efforts to fight forest fires.

It added that Singapore's national water agency PUB also cooperates closely with its Malaysian and Johor counterparts. Singapore and Malaysia have been working together on projects such as the Johor River Barrage to increase water resources in Johor, it noted.

The two dams supply water to some 760,000 people. SAJ Holdings, which is responsible for water supply services in Johor, said that if the water levels at the dams were to drop drastically, operations would have to be shut down immediately.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 26, 2015, with the headline Singapore disputes Johor official's cloud seeding claims. Subscribe