Speaking to reporters at a media conference, the Chief Minister of Malaysian state Johor proposed that the price of water sold to Singapore should be raised to the similar market price sold to fellow Malaysian state Melaka. The Malaysian Minister echoed the comments of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, saying the current raw water price of 3 sen (S$0.01) per thousand gallons is too low:
“The new price would not be the same as the current one, which is 3 sen per thousand gallons of raw water. It’s time to increase. Perhaps we will increase it to the same rate as sold to Melaka (at 50 sen per thousand gallons). We will review the water price agreements with Singapore to make sure that this can be done. It needs to be discussed more. I think that if the Johor government wants to raise prices at a reasonable rate, Singapore will accept it because that is our hope. The Malaysian government will scrutinise the existing water agreement with Singapore to see whether it would be possible to raise the price.”
Singapore’s local state media played up the propaganda claiming that the water price was raised by “1,600%” according to ChannelNewsAsia. The Singapore government is trying hard to rally Singaporeans, through propaganda and disinformation campaigns, against the new Malaysian government. Singapore’s state media rank 153rd in the world for credibility, according to an independent press freedom agency RSF.
In the past decade, the Singapore water supply monopoly company profited over S$1 billion from the sale of treated water. Despite posting record profits in its annual report every year, the Singapore Public Utility Board (PUB) raised water prices by 30% in the past year.
Despite having access to the cheapest water rate in the world, the Singapore’s ruling party government have been dissatisfied with the water price negotiation proposal. Several ruling party elites publicly hit out at the Malaysian Prime Minister, signalling the end of warm diplomatic ties with it’s neighbour.
From the breakdown of the High Speed Rail project to water prices, the problem started with the fall of the former Prime Minister Najib Razak. The corrupted political elite was arrested earlier on Wednesday (Jul 4) for siphoning funds from the Malaysian state funds 1MDB. Investigations revealed that Singapore has been a key money launderer for Najib Razak’s stolen billions, which the Singapore government feigned ignorance to.