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Dr M, PM Lee discussed 'controversial' issues in Singapore

New Straits Times logo New Straits Times 12/11/2018 SHARANJIT SINGH

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he raised issues which in the past were regarded as "controversial" during his meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today.

He said that the neighbours seemed more open in discussing such issues, including the contentious 1962 water agreement between both countries.

"He (Lee) was quite accommodating. I think they are much more open to discuss these things than before.

"Before, they just reject all efforts to renegotiate," he said at a press conference after a high tea meeting with Malaysians living here.

Asked if that meant Singapore was agreeable to renewed talks on the issue, he said "They did not say they agree, but at least they appear to be willing to state their case and for us to state our case."

The Prime Minister said that the next step would be for officials from both countries to discuss the matter further.

Dr Mahathir has before this repeatedly said that Malaysia was selling water to Singapore at too low a price, and that it should be raised.

a man and a woman sitting on a bench: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (left) discussing with his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong in a bilateral meeting during his official visit to Singapore at The Istana today. (BERNAMA) © Provided by Media Prima Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (left) discussing with his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong in a bilateral meeting during his official visit to Singapore at The Istana today. (BERNAMA)

However, Singapore has all the while said that the water agreement between both countries was sarcosanct and both countries must proceed strictly in accordance to the terms.

Under the 1962 agreement which will expire in 2061, Singapore may draw 250 million gallons of raw water from the Johor river daily at 3 sen per 1000 gallons.

In return, Johor is entitled to receive a daily supply of up to 5 million gallons of treated water - or 2% of the water supplied to Singapore - at 50 sen per 1000 gallons.

Dr Mahathir was previously quoted as saying that the agreement was manifestly ridiculous.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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