How is it 'immoral' to keep to an agreement?

It may be helpful to reflect that this water pact was made in 1962 - prior to Singapore being asked to leave Malaysia. This agreement, which runs till 2061, was ratified by the United Nations.
It may be helpful to reflect that this water pact was made in 1962 - prior to Singapore being asked to leave Malaysia. This agreement, which runs till 2061, was ratified by the United Nations.PHOTO: ST FILE

I find it rather perplexing that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is urging the Johor government as well as its people to speak out on what he describes as the "morally wrong" water deal with Singapore (PM Mahathir says Johor govt, people must speak up on the Singapore water agreement, Feb 28).

Tun Dr Mahathir has been describing the water deal as "unfair" for quite a while, but he is now choosing to call it "immoral".

It may be helpful to reflect that this water pact was made in 1962 - prior to Singapore being asked to leave Malaysia. This agreement, which runs till 2061, was ratified by the United Nations.

Malaysia was given the option to renegotiate the terms in 1987, but it did not. How, then, can it be immoral for Singapore to keep to the agreement which both countries entered into willingly?

In fact, it would be improper for any party to break this agreement unilaterally.

If one party requests a renegotiation as a favour, it should be approached in a manner of goodwill and not by branding the other party as upholding an agreement that is "unfair" or "immoral".

I trust that the people of Malaysia and Singapore, who are good neighbours and have friends and relatives on both sides, will see this issue clearly and not be swayed by inaccurate political statements that appear to be made to sow discord among the people of Johor.

Quek Koh Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2019, with the headline 'How is it 'immoral' to keep to an agreement?'. Print Edition | Subscribe