In response to media queries, the MFA Spokesperson said,
“Singapore has been clear and consistent that our position is that Malaysia has lost the right to review the price of water under the 1962 Water Agreement (62WA).
No review of the price of water has taken place. During the meeting between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on 12 November 2018, both sides expressed their differing views on the right to review the price of water under the 62WA. They expressed their willingness for officials to have further discussions to better understand each other’s positions on the right to review the price of water under the 62WA. The Attorneys-General of Singapore and Malaysia met once in December 2018 for this purpose. However, their discussions did not make progress as they were overshadowed by the issues that had arisen over the Johor Bahru Port Limits and the Seletar Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures. There was certainly no agreement between the Attorneys-General on any matter related to the 62WA during their meeting. The Attorneys-General will meet again to continue their discussions.
Singapore notes Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah’s comments in the Malaysian Parliament on 12 March 2019 that “if they (Singapore) do not want to negotiate, we (Malaysia) should bring this to international arbitration”. Prime Minister Mahathir had also said earlier on 3 March 2019 that Singapore does not want to go to the “world court”, ostensibly because we would lose.
Singapore has always been prepared to settle disputes by recourse to appropriate international third party dispute settlement procedures, on terms mutually agreed to by the parties. In fact, as far back as 2003, then-Minister for Foreign Affairs S Jayakumar said that Singapore was prepared to agree to refer this matter to international arbitration by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the interest of resolving the dispute.”
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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
13 MARCH 2019