Singapore, Malaysia Reiterate Commitment To 1962 Water Treaty

SINGAPORE, Singapore

Singapore and Malaysia officials have reiterated the nations’ commitment to the terms of the 1962 water agreement between the countries.

Responding in Parliament to a July 9 question about bilateral relations with Malaysia, Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said the 1962 deal is "not an ordinary agreement" and that Singapore will fully honor the terms, including the price of water stipulated.

"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."

In recent weeks, the Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had criticized the price of raw water sold to Singapore as “ridiculous” and said he planned to renegotiate the pact’s terms, but in a statement on June 25, a Malaysia Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesman said the 1962 treaty was guaranteed by both governments in the Separation Agreement, which was registered with the United Nations when Singapore broke away from Malaysia in 1965.

"Both sides must comply fully with all the provisions of these agreements,” the spokesman said.

According to the agreement between the two countries, Singapore water agency PUB has the exclusive right to draw up to 250 million gallons (mgd) of water from the Johor River each day. In return, Johor is entitled to buy treated water of the same volume as up to 2 per cent of the water extracted by Singapore on any given day, or about 5 mgd if Singapore draws its full entitlement of water from the Johor River.

The agreement extends to 2061.