Desmond Lim Bak Chuan, Chairman of Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), in its public statement, stressed that the party is deeply concerned towards the impending increase in the cost of water, stating that there is no justification for this increase.
Finance Minister, Heng Swee Keat said in the Budget 2017 speech in Parliament on Monday, “Water prices were last revised in 2000, almost 20 years ago. We need to update our water prices to reflect the latest costs of water supply,”
Mr Heng noted that the price increase will go towards maintaining Singapore’s water infrastructure, and more expensive sources of water such as desalination.
Including taxes, the prices will go up by 30 per cent in two phases. The first hike will be from 1 July this year, and the second from 1 July next year.
Mr Lim said that the source of water comes from Malaysia and questioned, “Did Malaysia increase the cost of water?”
The SDA Chairman said that NEwater plants have been privatised, which means that the government receive payment from the operators, such as rental and licensing fee.
Therefore, he stressed that it is the duty of the Government to ensure that private operators have the ability and capability to be cost effective and maintaining low cost in their operations.
He stated that this is a moral obligation, as water supply is sensitive to Singapore’s national security.
In addition, he said that there are also taxes being paid for the treatments and processes of raw water. Thus, SDA strongly feel that there is no justification to increase the price.
“We hope the government will review the decision considering that the economy is in bad shape and that the increase in cost will affect all Singaporeans including industries that rely heavily on water for their production,” he said.