Singapore seeks amicable solution to water issue
PUBLISHED ON 09 Apr 2019
PM Lee Hsien Loong has reiterated that the 1962 Water Agreement is sacrosanct for Singapore and Malaysia and both countries have to abide by it.
Responding to a question on Malaysia’s desire to review the price of water at a joint press conference after the 9th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat on 9 April 2019, PM Lee said that the Attorney-Generals from Singapore and Malaysia will continue to meet and understand each other’s legal positions and concerns.
This, he said, will reduce the potential for conflict between the two countries. “Let us try to find a way forward which enables us to talk constructively about this issue, and hopefully be able to make some progress,” PM Lee added.
Meanwhile, it will be in the best interests of Singapore and Malaysia to work together to ensure a sustainable water supply for both sides, said Mr Lee. Referring to the pollution in the Johor River as well as its long-term yield, he said Singapore has raised its concerns to the Malaysian government.
PM Lee pointed out that Singapore's PUB waterworks operation at Kota Tinggi was forced to shut operations last week because of high ammonia levels. The source was traced to a palm oil mill in Sedenak, in the catchment area.
“If the Johor River suffers an incident like that, which happened in Sungei Kim Kim recently, it will be disastrous for both countries,” PM Lee cautioned.
PM Lee also pointed out that Johor has built water plants on the Johor River, upstream of PUB’s waterworks at Kota Tinggi. He said that these plants, together with PUB's Kota Tinggi water works, could possibly draw more water than the river can sustain. As such, there is a need to study how to meet both Johor and Singapore’s water requirements for the remainder of the Water Agreement.