Lee Hsien Loong at a loss of words

Failing to convince Singaporeans of the 30% water price hike, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong brought out his deceased father’s name to garner support:

“It’s one of the things which (Singapore’s founding Prime Minister) Mr Lee Kuan Yew used to be obsessed with right from the beginning and right to the end of his life. And as a nation, we have to maintain his attitude towards water – the attitude that has brought us here. We got water security now because of our obsession. And by keeping this focus, we can stay secure into the future.”

Lee Hsien Loong then blamed the unpopularity of the 30% water price hike to Singaporeans being ignorant. The Prime Minister said that he should have spent more time “explaining” to Singaporeans, otherwise Singaporeans would not have been so “surprised”:

“Before announcing the water tariff hike last month, the Government perhaps should have spent more time explaining the rationale and what it would be doing to help households cope. By doing so, people would not have been so surprised.”

Lee Hsien Loong then used hard rhetoric to justify the price hike, without explaining why the Public Utilities Board (PUB) made hundreds of millions in net profit each year and still require a price hike:

“Raising the price of water was absolutely necessary. We cannot avoid it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t do it… But we also have to price water properly because it’s scarce. It’s not cheap to produce and consumers need to know how precious it is everytime you turn on the tap. And we need to discourage ourselves from using more water than we absolutely need to all of the time. If water ever becomes a vulnerability for Singapore, we will all be in very serious trouble. Singaporeans should remember the serious purpose behind all these beautiful things they see. Take nothing for granted in the country. We don’t believe that we have to keep people away from water to protect it. We would like people to get close to the water, enjoy it, take care of it, so that we can value and conserve it for ourselves and for our children.”