Water is a gift of life. The earth is made up of 70% of water and she needs it for sustenance; to feed her animals and trees. And the human body which contains around 50% to 65% water would perish if cut off from it. Malaysia is a country blessed with more than ample water supply and as Malaysians, it is our thing to be generous and share our wealth.
Johor has been subsidizing water for our Singaporean brothers and sisters since 1927, and what a delight it is to be able to do so. On 1 September 1961, the Federation of Malaya granted Singapore the right to draw up to 86 million imperial gallons of water per day collectively from the Tebrau River, the Skudai River, the Pontian Reservoir, and the Gunung Pulai Reservoir; this agreement ended in 2011. Another agreement was signed on 29 September 1962, stating that Singapore can draw up to 250 million imperial gallons per day from the Johor River, and this agreement is in effect until 2061. By Malaysian generosity, both agreements have stipulated that Malaysia will only receive 3 Malaysian cents per 1,000 imperial gallons (5,000 L). Another fun fact, Johor has been buying treated water from Singapore at 50 cents per 1,000 gallons since then.
Malaysia asked for a price review as both agreements have stated that any side of the party could after 25 years, looking to increase the price to RM6.25 per 1,000 gallons. A steep jump, you might think but the price is cheaper than Singapore’s own NEWater at RM7.50 per 1,000 gallons and its desalinated water at RM7.65 per 1,000 gallons. After much letter-exchanging, public statements and claims, and discussions between Malaysia and Singapore, our Malaysian generosity once again prevailed when the price of 3 cents remained.
After 2061, Singapore will cease to need our gift of life as they have built enough water catchments and desalination plants. And although we don’t get to share our riches with the neighboring brothers and sisters anymore, Malaysia and Singapore still share the good feeling of having our own gift of life.
And I say, this is one of the nice things we Malaysians enjoy.