Water Agreements between Johor and Singapore
A lot has been reported recently in our local print media on disagreements between Malaysia and Singapore regarding the supply of raw water to Singapore from rivers in Johor. These reports were based on statements made by leaders from both sides of the Causeway. Also many letters on the water issue from the public were published in our local dailies.

From all the above, one is given to understand that Singapore has been paying only 3 sens per 1,000 gallons of raw water it gets from Johor since 1961 and Malaysians in general feel that the rate is too dirt cheap. The principal disagreement is apparently on the new rate, which Singapore is prepared to pay 45 sens per 1,000 gallons but Malaysia is insisting on a rate of 60 sens or more per 1,000 gallons.

The public has also been informed that there are in existence two water agreements between Johor and Singapore, i.e. 1961 and 1962 agreements, which will expire in 2011 and 2061 respectively.

Apart from the above, no other information and details on the two water agreements were made available for public consumption until Singapore, in late January this year (2003), made public letters between leaders from both sides of the Causeway, including copies of the water agreements. These documents were made available on www.mfa.gov.sg.

Malaysia was furious and cried foul over the release of the documents saying that Singapore had not acted on good faith. But after the initial furore over the release of the documents, the water dispute seemed to have abated somewhat. However, the spats between both sides continued but on a different issue i.e. the replacement of the existing Causeway with a bridge.

Having perused the water agreements on www.mfa.gov.sg to find out what they say, the following are significant revelations worth noting if one wishes to have a better insight of the current water dispute.

There have been four water agreements, i.e. 1927, 1961, 1962 and 1990, with only the last three still remain in force. The 1927 Agreement was superseded by the 1961 Agreement, which will expire in 2011. The 1990 Agreement is supplement to the 1962 Agreement, with both expiring in 2061.

The 1961 and 1962 Agreements were guaranteed in the Separation Agreement signed by both countries in 7th Aug. 1965.

The salient points of these four Water Agreements are given in:

1927 Agreement

1961 Agreement

1962 Agreement

1990 Agreement

Related article : Arbitration the only way to resolve water dispute

nakedeyeview.com.my 2007