This writer has previously reported that the Singapore-Malaysia water agreements are not sustainable (see story copied and pasted below).
In the past few weeks Singapore ministers have had much to say about the water agreements.For example the Straits Times reported:
Singapore will fully honour the terms of the 1962 Water Agreement with Malaysia, including the price of water stipulated in it, and expects Malaysia also to do so, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Monday (July 9).
Responding in Parliament to a question about bilateral relations with Malaysia, Dr Balakrishnan said the 1962 deal is "not an ordinary agreement".
"The 1962 Water Agreement was guaranteed by both Singapore and Malaysia in the 1965 Separation Agreement, which in turn was registered with the United Nations," he said.
"Any breach of the 1962 Water Agreement would call into question the Separation Agreement, which is the basis for Singapore's very existence as an independent sovereign state."
Water has been in the spotlight in recent weeks as an issue that could affect bilateral ties, after Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad criticised the water supply deal between Singapore and his country, saying the price at which water is sold to the Republic is "ridiculous".
An agreement signed between Singapore and Malaysia in 1962 allows Singapore to draw up to 250 million gallons of raw water from Johor daily at three sen (1.01 Singapore cents) per 1,000 gallons.
The Minister also said:
While Malaysia’s investigations into the 1MDB issue have intensified following its general election, Singapore has been thoroughly investigating 1MDB-related offences committed in Singapore since 2015, he noted.
Singapore has taken firm action against institutions and individuals, including criminal prosecutions, shut down two banks and fined others for regulatory breaches, and jailed and fined individuals convicted on 1MDB-linked charges.
“So far, we are the only jurisdiction to have done so. We have, in addition, cooperated fully with Malaysia’s official requests for information on 1MDB-related transactions,” he said.
However, Singapore has yet to say much about this very large billion dollar 1MDB issue:
In 2011, the former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) subsidiary took a RM4.385 billion loan from KWAP at an interest rate of between 4.3% and 5.1% per year to fund strategic overseas investments in energy resources.
The total repayment period is 10 years, which would see interest servicing in the first five years of the loan, while the remaining five years would see the interest and principal paid up.
Last November, former second finance minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani admitted that SRC was in financial difficulty due to problems it faced in recovering money it had deposited in BSI Bank's branch in Singapore.
This came after Singapore authorities shut down the bank's operations for breaching money laundering regulations in a development allegedly linked to 1MDB.
The above raised the obvious question: Is Singapore using that billion or more as a bargaining chip in the ongoing disagreement over the water agreements?
This would not be the first occasion in which Singapore has used money owed Malaysia and Malaysians as a bargaining chip.Readers may recall this issue from the 1990s:
Veteran observers on both sides of the Causeway view it as representing a psychological breakthrough in the way the two countries approach contentious issues between them. Malaysia had accepted the fact of Singapore’s sovereignty over the railway land while Singapore had acknowledged Malaysia’s entitlement to some economic value for the railway land and stations that KTM had to give up. The agreement to relocate the KTM Station to Woodlands within a year has opened up the possibility of a resolution to other outstanding issues, if approached with the same spirit. These include the price of water supply from Johor to Singapore and the withdrawal of CPF savings by Malaysian workers and use of Malaysian airspace by the Singapore Air Force.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Singapore ,1 MDB,a change of leadership & the water agreements: A public admission from Singapore that the water agreements are not sustainable
by Ganesh Sahathevan
In this post earlier in the week evidence was provided to show that the Singapore-Malaysia water agreements will need to reviewed, regardless of any arrangement the Government of Singapore may come to with Najib Razak, the 65 year old current prime minister of Malaysia.\:
Singapore & 1 MDB: Change of leadership may mean an adverse review of unsustainable water agreements
It has since come to this writer's attention that the issues raised in the above post had in fact been aired via the Government owned and controlled Straits Times ,where the public have been warned :
The heavy rain and subsequent floods in Johor Baru are in a different catchment area from the Linggiu Reservoir, which is further upstream. While there has been some rain in the Linggiu Reservoir catchment, the water levels remain largely the same, at around 43 per cent.
In photos posted last Friday( November 13,2015, on the Facebook page of Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli ) the water level at the Linggiu Reservoir was shown to have dropped significantly.
The water level at the reservoir is at its lowest due to low rainfall and this in turn impacts how much Singapore can draw from the Johor River. Singapore can tap 250 million gallons of water a day from the river, which can meet up to 60 per cent of the country's needs.
PUB said that from January to last month, there were about 100 times when Singapore was temporarily unable to withdraw water from the river .
Last week, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said if the situation does not improve, more may have to be done to conserve water. This includes restricting, for the first time, the use of water for non-essential activities such as washing cars and operating water fountains.
(See full story below).
The probability that Singapore is trying to do what it can to ignore the 1 MDB scandal in order to secure its future supply of water via some agreement with Najib Razak, as foolhardy as that may seem, is greater given this admission.Readers are reminded that the Government of Singapore has for more than a decade boasted that it is self-sufficient with regards its need for water.
This Straits Times headline from 2014 is but one example:
Saying goodbye to water woes-Treated used water is helping Singapore achieve near self-sufficiency