Malaysian PM to renegotiate water agreement with Singapore

Stefania Palma in Singapore

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Malaysia will try to renegotiate a water supply agreement with Singapore five decades ago on the basis that it is too expensive, according to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's office.

Although the renegotiations have not yet begun, the office added that there will not be such a long wait before the process begins.

The announcement adds to the tensions between Malaysia and Singapore, after Mahathir said he would cancel a multi-million dollar megaproject to build a high-speed rail network linking Kuala Lumpur and the state of the city.

In a Bloomberg interview on Sunday, Mahathir said the water agreement, which dates from 1962 and expires in 2061, is "too expensive."

Under the agreement, Singapore can extract up to 250 million gallons of raw water per day from the Johor River at 3 sen ($ 0.007) per 1,000 gallons, and Malaysia has the right to buy up to 2 percent of the extracted volume. by its neighbor in treated water at 50 sen ($ 0.12) per 1,000 gallons.

"I think it's manifestly ridiculous that we should sell water at 3 sen per thousand gallons, which was fine in the 1990s or 1930s. But now, what can you buy with 3 sensors? Nothing," said Mr. Mahathir in an interview with Channel News Asia.

Malaysia is a key source of water for Singapore. The renegotiation of this agreement would be important for the city-state, which is not self-sufficient in terms of water supply.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore issues could not comment at the time of publication.

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