Singapore ‘understands’ us, DPM says amid Dr M’s renewed bid for water price hike

Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail downplayed Dr Mahathir’s water price hike proposal. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 — Malaysia’s relationship with Singapore will unlikely be affected by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s plan to raise the price of water sold to the neighbouring country by more than 10 times, his deputy said.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail downplayed Dr Mahathir’s proposal, saying that the price of water is “nothing new” and is an issue which has been ongoing for decades.

“His approach is his approach. Dr Mahathir has a different style in handling things, but at the same time Singapore is our neighbour, they understand us in a way.

“So, as neighbours we should be cordial. The issue of water has been long-standing,” she told Malay Mail in an exclusive interview.

“It is nothing new. Singapore understands that and how to tackle [this issue],” the Pandan MP said.

Dr Mahathir recently said he was considering raising the price of water sold to Singapore by more than 10 times to reflect the rising cost of living.

The prime minister told international newswire AP that Johor sold water to Melaka at 30 sen per 1,000 gallons — a rate he described as “charitable” as it was a domestic deal — compared to a decades-old treaty between Malaysia and Singapore in which Malaysia sells water to its southern neighbour at 3 sen per thousand gallons and purchases treated water at 50 sen per thousand gallons.

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