On 12 Mar, Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said that Malaysia would seek international arbitration if Singapore does not renegotiate the 1962 water agreement.
This was in response to Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan’s “reckless” statement, as deemed by Mr. Saifuddin. He slammed Dr. Balakrishnan for what he had said and condemned it as a “malicious accusation.”
However, Mr. Saifuddin said before Putrajaya escalates the issue, it needs to ensure that Johor will not depend on water from Singapore.
Previously, Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had also urged Johor to speak up against Singapore water pact as it was “morally wrong,” saying that “rich” Singapore had been benefitting from “poor” Malaysia on the water issues.
In defense, Dr. Balakrishnan said then that “It is about the fundamental principle of respecting the sanctity of agreements” and not who is richer or poorer.
He added that “any breach of the 1962 Water Agreement would call into question the Separation Agreement” hence, the need to fully honor the terms of the 1962 Water Agreement, including the accorded price.
Mr. Saifuddin added that Malaysia had subsidized Singapore a total of RM2.4 billion worth of raw water based on the prices agreed upon in the 1960s, without elaborating on how the figures are derived.
I wonder how he came out with the idea that Malaysia subsidized Singapore RM 2.4 billion.
In the 1990 agreement, Singapore paid Johor RM320 million as compensation for loss of use of the land, as well as a ‘one-time up-front payment’ for the leasing of the land. On top of this, Singapore is paying an annual rental of RM30 for every 1,000 square feet of land use, not to mention that Singapore solely invested almost ONE BILLION in the Linggiu project.