Singaporeans hate two things. The first is people trying to con them of their money. The second is outsiders whacking Singapore.
Malaysia’s PM Dr Mahathir managed to achieve both yesterday, when he complained about how Malaysia has had to sell water to Singapore so cheaply.
“I think it is manifestly ridiculous that we should sell water at 3 sen per thousand gallons. That was okay way back in the 1990s or 1930s. But now what can you buy with 3 sen? Nothing.”
Eh bodoh, this is what Singaporeans have to say to you:
1. Malaysia and Singapore signed the Water Agreements in 1962 at this price. We don’t care what you can or cannot buy with 3 sen. Point, it is legally binding. This is guaranteed by both governments and registered by the United Nations. Cannot suka suka raise the water prices just because you song one day, not song the next, ok?
2. Malaysia forfeited its right to review water prices in 1986 and 1987. Boat sailed liao. But we allowed you to renegotiate prices in 1998 over the next 4 years, where you kept raising prices and going back on things earlier agreed. You walked away from the discussion. You ownself row your own boat.
3. It is manifestly ridiculous that the wily fox declares only half the story. Malaysia sells RAW water to Singapore at RM0.03 per thousand gallons. Singapore has to treat the water at RM$2.40 / 1000 gallons, and Malaysia buys this treated water at RM0.50 / 1000 gallons. This means to say that Singapore subsidises RM$1.90/1000 gallons to Malaysia. Our great Singapore Sale discount also not so good ok?
Most importantly, Dr Mahathir failed to make clear that Malaysia sells the treated water to Malaysians at RM$3.95 / 1000 gallons. This means that Malaysia rakes in RM46m in profits a year – literally just sitting there and watching rain fall into the Johor river. Don’t act like we are bullying you when you are benefiting from this agreement.
4. We will not allow you to use as your carrot head: Malaysia is in deep, dreadful national debt. 1 trillion ringgit and counting. Dr Mahathir will take awhile to solve this problem, so in the meantime, we are being used to raise money (ketok us with our water), and reduce liabilities (using the water agreements to negotiate for the HSR compensation that is rightly due to Sinapore).
5. Water is existential:Dr Mahathir, you will not threaten Singapore with our survival, and play with us, saying this is “not urgent”. We have been supportive of your leadership ever since you won the GE, and extended a hand of genuine friendship to Malaysia, our abang – but don’t mistake Singaporeans’ kindness for weakness.
Luckily, we expected that Malaysia may hold this over our heads again one day, so over the years, we have diversified our water sources. Because the only people we can truly count on is ourselves.