Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. (File photo: Reuters/Lai Seng Sin)
SINGAPORE: Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has dubbed a water supply deal with Singapore as “too costly” and said his government needs to renegotiate the agreement with Singapore.
In a Bloomberg interview published on Monday (Jun 25), Malaysia’s 92-year-old leader said water was among the issues with Singapore “that we need to settle”.
"We will sit down and talk with them, like civilised people," he said in the interview.
In a Channel NewsAsia interview also on Monday, Dr Mahathir called the price of water being sold to Singapore "ridiculous".
"I think it is manifestly ridiculous that we should sell water at 3 sen per thousand gallons. That was okay way back in the 1990s or 1930s. But now what can you buy with 3 sen? Nothing," he told Channel NewsAsia in an exclusive interview.
Bloomberg quoted Dr Mahathir as saying that he would be friendly with Singapore and other nations, while focusing on striking fair deals and ensuring balance.
“I think we can benefit from each other," he said. "We need the expertise of Singapore. Lots of Singapore people invest in Malaysia because it’s much cheaper here."
Dr Mahathir told Bloomberg that he also plans to review Chinese investments and called US President Donald Trump “mercurial”.
“He changes his mind within 24 hours … When you have a man like that, you need to be cautious,” Dr Mahathir said, referring to Trump’s decision on whether to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a summit in Singapore earlier this month.