International Law

Malaysia, Singapore to continue Discussions on 1962 Water Pact

Date: 14 March 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: Bernama

PUTRAJAYA, March 14 (Bernama) - Malaysia and Singapore will continue to discuss the 1962 water agreement with a view of finding amicable solutions to the ongoing dispute, said Malaysia's Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah. Speaking after meeting his Singaporean counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan on bilateral issues at Wisma Putra here today, Saifuddin said negotiations on the review of the price of raw water supplied by Malaysia to Singapore were being undertaken by the attorneys-general of both countries.

Saifuddin said both sides reaffirmed their commitment to resolving bilateral issues in a constructive manner and to encouraging ongoing diplomatic efforts to find amicable solutions for mutual interest.

"This is of course in preserving the vital relationship between both countries and improving bilateral ties on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

"I think that is the underlying spirit of all the discussions that we have had in the past and we will be having in the future," he said.

Meanwhile, Balakrishnan said the discussions between Malaysia and Singapore were being held to better understand each other's position on the right to review the price of water under the agreement.

"The attorneys-general of Malaysia and Singapore will continue to discuss to better understand each other's position on the right to review the price of water under this agreement," he said.

The issue regarding the water agreement between the two nations became a hot topic again in the middle of last year when Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the price of raw water sold to Singapore did not make sense and that he planned to re-negotiate the terms of the agreement.

The agreement, which ends in 2061, entitles Singapore to draw up to 250 million gallons a day of raw water from Sungai Johor at three sen per 1,000 gallons.

Johor then buys treated water from the island republic at 50 sen per 1,000 gallons.

Dr Mahathir was also reported to have said that Singapore would lose if the water issue was taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) because the price paid for raw water did not make sense.

He said both nations should discuss the matter first before taking the dispute to the ICJ.

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