Johor chief minister proposes a 16-fold price hike for water sold to Singapore, says the new price will be ‘reasonable and affordable’

The new price would be near equal to that which Singapore charges Malaysia for treated water.
The Straits Times

The Johor government is proposing a price hike for raw water sold to Singapore in an effort to “keep with the current times”.

According to state news agency Bernama, Johor chief minister Osman Sapian said on Thursday (Jul 5) that the price would likely increase to 50 sen ($0.12) per 1,000 gallons of water – the same price which Singapore charges for the portion of water it treats and sells back to Malaysia.

“…or slightly less than that price but not what it is today. I think that if we (the Johor government) raise the price to a reasonable and affordable one, we hope the Singapore government will accept it,” he said.

Currently, Singapore buys water from its neighbour at 3 sen for every 1,000 gallons.

The prices were established after a bilateral water agreement was signed in 1962, which gives Singapore the full and exclusive right to draw up to 250 million gallons of water per day from Malaysia’s Johor River.

The agreement is set to expire in 2061.

Speaking to reporters after attending Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor’s Hari Raya function, Osman said the matter was discussed with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad but no consensus was reached.

“Discussion is still ongoing because it is necessary to examine the existing agreement and after that, probably the Malaysian government would discuss further with Singapore,” he added.

On Jun 25, Dr Mahathir revealed his intention to renegotiate the water supply pact which he deemed “too costly” for his country and said was an issue with Singapore “that we need to settle”.

In response, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged Malaysia to fully comply with the agreement.

“The 1962 Water Agreement is a fundamental agreement that was guaranteed by both governments in the 1965 Separation Agreement which was registered with the UN. Both sides must comply fully with all the provisions of these agreements,” said a spokesman from the Ministry.