S'pore will lose on water issue if it goes to 'World Court': Mahathir

Actually, the reverse might be true.

Belmont Lay | March 05, 2019, 01:00 PM

What is Mahathir on about again?

Four things.

First issue

Firstly, in his latest comments, Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Sunday, March 3, 2019 that Singapore will lose its case if it tries to get the water issue arbitrated by a third party.

This is due to the “ridiculous” price of raw water it is receiving from Malaysia, he said.

Second issue

Secondly, Mahathir actually used the term "World Court" as a substitute for the International Court of Justice or the International Court of Arbitration.

He told reporters after officiating the National Landscape Day 2019 celebration at the Putrajaya Botanical Gardens: “To go to the World Court, you must have agreement from both parties.”

He said Singapore does not want to go to the World Court, because “if they go to the World Court they will lose”.

Third issue

Thirdly, Mahathir also said that Singapore is selling water at a 1,000 percent profit.

“It is ridiculous that something agreed in 1962 – 3 sen per 1,000 gallons of water – is still being used now. At that time, it was reasonable but today, it is no longer reasonable.

“I want to know whether in the year 2060 it is still going to be 3 sen per 1,000 gallons and if Singapore will be selling the water at a very high price,” he said.

He questioned if Singapore would still be making “big profits” when it develops new water through desalination.

“And yet they get water from us for 3 sen and sell it for more than 1,000 percent profit.”

Fourth issue

Fourthly, Mahathir then criticised Singapore's foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan.

This was after Vivian had described Mahathir's previous comments on the issue of calling on Singapore once again to pay more for the raw water it draws from Johor a “red herring”.

In his immediate response, Vivian said Mahathir’s comments were “strong, emotive words, no doubt intended to rouse public opinion”, and a “red herring”.

Mahathir, however, said the two countries will sit down to discuss the issue.

“We will talk to them,” he said, adding that both sides cannot unilaterally change the terms of the decades-long agreement.

Water agreement terms

The water agreement, which expires in 2061, entitles Singapore to draw up to 250 million gallons a day of raw water from the Johor River daily.

In return, Johor is entitled to a daily supply of treated water of up to 2 percent or 5 million gallons a day of the water supplied to Singapore.

Singapore pays 3 sen per thousand gallons of raw water and sells treated water back to Johor at 50 sen per thousand gallons.

Singapore has supplied more water at times.

H/T Free Malaysia Today