JOHOR BAHARU: The Johor state government has asked that the issue of the price of raw water supplied to Singapore becomes part of the agenda for discussions in the forth-coming joint meeting between the two
Chairman of the State Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee Datuk Ir Hasni Mohammad said Johor wanted the talks on the price of raw water supplied to Singapore to begin immediately.
“I hope that if there are talks between Malaysia and Singapore, the issue on the review of the price of raw water is included in the agenda. I hope we can begin discussions to work out the next step.
“The talks should begin immediately,” he told Bernama in an interview here, Tuesday.
According to agreements signed in 1961 and 1962, Singapore’s Public Utilities Board (PUB) would buy raw water from Johor at the rate of three sen every 1,000 gallons.
Singapore on the other hand would sell treated water to Johor at the price of 50 sen for every 1,000 gallons.
According to Hasni, Johor sells 250 million liters of raw water to Singapore every day and bought back two percent of that or five million liters in the form of treated water.
The treated water from Singapore is supplied to residents in parts of Johor Baharu as well as Pontian and Kota Tinggi.
He said the raw water was the right of the state government and not the federal government or the National Water Services Commission (SPAN). Which was why the state wanted the price to be renegotiated.
“We have long been in a losing position when we sell raw water to Singapore at three sen (for 1,000 gallons),” he said, adding that the price of treated water sold to Syarikat Air Johor (SAJ) and Melaka was too high.
He believed the good relations that existed between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore would result in a positive outcome on the price of raw water supplied to Singapore.
“I do not believe that the Singapore government will reject it outright. We hope that the discussions will benefit both parties,” Hasni said. He believed that the discussions would flow smoothly between Malaysia and Singapore and not based on “one country exploiting another.”
“The talks should be balanced, there cannot be one side that feels pressured,” he said, adding that he understood the water agreement between the two countries could be reviewed.
Regarding the new price requested by Johor for the raw water supplied to Singapore, he said the federal government had said that a fair price would be 60 sen per 1,000 gallons.
However, he added, if Singapore raised the price of treated water from 50 sen for 1,000 gallons, it was likely that Johor would increase the price of raw water.
“If Singapore raised the price of its treated water from 50 sen to RM5.00, we may not increase to 60 sen, but perhaps higher than that,” Hasni said.