Malaysia should appreciate Singapore's goodwill gestures

Instead of wrangling over raw water prices, Malaysia can cooperate with Singapore to do much more to benefit the people from both sides.
Instead of wrangling over raw water prices, Malaysia can cooperate with Singapore to do much more to benefit the people from both sides.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

I hope the Malaysian government will change its approach and show its appreciation for Singapore's help in supplying additional treated water at the same price as under the 1962 Water Agreement purely on a goodwill basis (Singapore supplies additional treated water to Malaysia at Johor's request; Jan 6).

According to the Water Agreement, Singapore is required to supply only five million gallons per day (mgd) of treated water, but in practice, Singapore has been providing 16 mgd of treated water to Johor at its request - all for the same price of 50 sen (17 Singapore cents) per 1,000 gallons.

Singapore could have charged higher prices, but in the spirit of good neighbourliness, Singapore has not even brought the topic up.

This is despite it costing Singapore RM2.40 to treat every 1,000 gallons of water.

Instead of wrangling over raw water prices, Malaysia can cooperate with Singapore to do much more to benefit the people from both sides.

With its large land mass, Malaysia could encourage more joint ventures with Singapore to expand agricultural production to boost its food supply.

As Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said last year, Singapore and Malaysia are like twins and hence, both nations should pursue win-win cooperation and focus on our respective domestic priorities to achieve better bilateral relations.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2019, with the headline 'Malaysia should appreciate S'pore's goodwill gestures'. Print Edition | Subscribe