KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — The federal government should not interfere with Johor’s water agreement with Singapore since the resource belongs to the state government, Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said today.
Singaporean broadcaster Channel NewsAsia reported Tunku Ismail as saying that Johor has sovereignty over its water and it is up to the state government to come up with a deal that will benefit both sides.
“At the end of the day, the water in Johor belongs to Johor… When it comes to religion, land and water, it belongs to the state. Therefore, I think it’s the Johor state government (that) should decide. (I prefer) not to have federal interference when it comes to water between Johor and Singapore,” Tunku Ismail reportedly said.
In June, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government must discuss the price of water sold to Malaysia’s southern neighbour, describing it as “manifestly ridiculous”.
Tunku Ismail told the Singaporean media that the state government should look into the pricing issue, but stressed that it must be a “win-win” situation for Johor and Singapore.
He also pointed out that Malaysia and Singapore are neighbours and a mutually beneficial relationship is critical for the future.
The royal said those living in Johor understand the relationship better due to shared borders.
Tunku Ismail reportedly said the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government should not focus on petty issues and create unnecessary statements and issues that can trigger tension.
“Johoreans understand the sentiment of the relationship between Johor and Singapore better than any other Malaysian because we are neighbours and we have (had) a wonderful relationship for 200 years,” he reportedly said, reminding the PH administration not to find faults or pick fights with individuals or governments, but to focus on bringing the nation forward.
Tunku Ismail then proposed a third causeway as a possible solution to the congestion at the Woodlands Causeway and Tuas Second Link.
“It’s my personal opinion that if you have a third Causeway, it will better alleviate any (road) congestion between Johor and Singapore, because we have hundreds of thousands of people coming in every day,” Tunku Ismail reportedly said.
He then shared his experience as a student at the Australian International School in Singapore, saying he understands how it feels like to be stuck in a traffic jam as “it can be quite a while”.
Tunku Ismail also said he supported the Rapid Transit System linking Johor’s Bukit Changar station to its Singapore’s Woodlands North Station.
“It will have a lot of positive things. You see a lot of Singaporeans and Malaysians come using the Causeway and there’s a lot of congestion,” he reportedly said.