Johor plans to cut its reliance on Singapore for water, Johor chief minister Osman Sapian said in his latest remarks on this topic.
He said the plan was for the southern state to build new water treatment plants in three to four years.
This is to reduce reliance on buying treated water from Singapore and to better manage its resources.
His statement reportedly came after he talked to Malaysia prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Spoke to Mahathir
The Star reported Osman as saying on Thursday, March 21: “I have also had a talk with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir about the matter and we are looking for ways not to be dependent on treated water from Singapore.”
Spoke to Johor sultan
“I have also discussed the issue with the Johor sultan and he has no opposition,” Osman said.
No other details
However, this latest statement reported by the Malaysian press attributed to Osman was made without more details provided, as usual.
Osman had said earlier on March 1 that Johor may stop relying on the treated water it buys from Singapore.
His statement at that time came after attending a special session with Mahathir and his Cabinet at Putrajaya then.
Osman had said previously that there was a “plan” to no longer rely on Singapore for treated water.
However, he said that the plans had not been finalised.
Impact on Water Agreement?
It is unclear how such a unilateral move would impact the terms of the 1962 Water Agreement between Malaysia and Singapore, if anything.
The Agreement allows Singapore to draw 250 million gallons of water per day from the Johor River.
Singapore pays three sen for every 1,000 gallons.
In return, Johor is entitled to a daily supply of treated water amounting to two per cent of the raw water it supplied for 50 sen per 1,000 gallons, although in actual fact Singapore supplies a higher amount.
Singapore bears cost of treating water
But Singapore also bears the full cost of treating the water, and other infrastructural costs, such as building dams and treatment plants, and operating and maintaining the pumps and pipelines.
The Singapore government has stated that the real cost of treating the water is RM2.40 per 1,000 gallons.