There has been a growing concern over the 1962 water agreement between
Singapore and Malaysia as Malaysia wishes to review the price of the water. Dr
Mahathir claims that the price of water that Malaysia sells to Singapore under the
1962 Water Agreement is absurd and would like to raise it by at least 10 times. This
has sparked a huge debate between Singapore and Malaysia about their views on
the price of the water.
From Singapore’s point of view, the water price should not be changed as they
believe that Malaysia is profiting by RM$3.10 / 1000 gallons of water sold.
Singapore also believes that neither country should be able to change the terms of
agreements on their own as it would question the Separation Agreement, which is
the basis for Singapore’s very existence as an independent sovereign state.
However, from Malaysia’s point of view, by the end of the water agreement in 2061,
Malaysia claims that it will lose around RM1.8 Billion if the price of the water
remains the same.
Singapore wants the price of water to remain unchanged as Singapore’s water
security is at risk if the price of the water were to increase. Singapore gets most of
its raw water from Johor’s Linggiu Reservoir, which meets 60 percent of Singapore’s
water needs. If agreements are not successful, it may cause strains in the
relationship between Singapore and Malaysia which may also cancel the High
Speed Rail project.
Malaysia on the other hand wants to increase the price of water in order to reflect the
higher cost of living. It was also noted to be too costly and charitable, and they
believe that a higher cost needs to be reinstated for selling water to a foreign
Although articles have illustrated the heated debates between the ministers from
both countries, I believe it is necessary for both countries to come to terms with the
price of the water agreement without having to strain relations. As neighbouring
countries, it is necessary for them to cooperate in order to work towards goals and
opportunities in the future.