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The WEATHER on THURSDAY (23 Jan 2003): Showers with thunder in the late morning and early afternoon over many areas..  WEATHER OUTLOOK:  FRIDAY & SATURDAY: Afternoon showers with thunder can be expected.     WATER TIDES (this month)  High tide   2.22am  2.7m   1.28am  3.1m    SUN Sunrise  7.15am    Sunset  7.18pm   MOON  Moonrise  11.42pm   Moonset  11.17am    PSI: 35 (good)   TEMPERATURE: 24-31 degrees Celsius (The weather is updated daily before 8am Singapore time) For more information, call Meteorological Service Singapore Tel: (65) 6542 7788.

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Water Issue: Foreign Minister's replies in Parliament

Excerpt of replies by Minister for Foreign Affairs Prof S. Jayakumar, to supplementary questions 25 Jan 2003


Dr Ong Chit Chung: First, I want to thank the Minister for his most comprehensive and full answer on Malaysia-Singapore relations. It is clear from the presentation given this afternoon that Singapore is most reasonable, most accommodative and most patient in our negotiations with Malaysia.

I want to ask the Minister whether the Malaysians understand and know the sanctity of international agreements made by them with other countries. Or do they deliberately choose to ignore this? And, if so, what is their motive?

With Malaysia chopping and changing its position time and time again, all the time, how would Singapore engage meaningfully in negotiations with Malaysia? We would like to know, although the Minister has mentioned, what is next? Is there any date or time-table in mind or is it going to be just a vacuum?

In particular, I would ask the Minister to comment on the announcement that Johor said that they would cease buying treated water from Singapore from mid-2003 onwards, after their own water treatment plant has been completed. What would be our response to this?

Answer: Dr Ong Chit Chung asked several questions whether they know of the importance of the sanctity of the Water Agreements and so on. From my statement, Members will realise that I have given enough quotations. 

Some old, like Mr Ariff, the representative of the Vienna Conference on the Law of Treaties, 1968, that he was telling the representatives of the whole world that the Separation Agreement and the Water Agreements are very good examples of how agreements or special agreements that cannot be suspended or terminated for any political reason, and to what Foreign Minister Mr Syed Hamid said last year that they continue to honour the agreements. So these statements indicate, but you have to contrast with some of the other statements which I mentioned in early 2002.

What is the motive for making all the statements? I think that is in the realm of speculation. What is important for us is not so much speculation but for us to state what are the implications which I have done and what is Singapore's position, which is what I have also done. That is, we cannot allow treaties solemnly entered into to be lightly disregarded or contravened.

And if we allow Malaysia to unilaterally change or alter important provisions of an agreement so critical as the Separation Agreement, then where will all this end? Are we expected to quietly accept any other revisions of critical provisions of the Separation Agreement or any other agreement? So, that is why we have to state our position very clearly.


NEW WEB SITES   is the Web site of the new Media Development Authority, formed by the merger of the Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA), the Films and Publications Department (FPD) and the Singapore Film Commission (SFC).   is a cyber platform, set up by the Ministry of Law, to keep Singaopore's overseas lawyers informed of developments in the local legal scene, gather feedback on legal reform and developments in other countries and to assist the local legal fraternity to network with those working overseas.

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30 January 2003

Thursday's News


The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has lifted a 1995 ruling which requires a car buyer to make a 30 per cent cash downpayment and repay his car loan within seven years. The policy change is expected to spur demand for new cars. (1)

There was a record 34 cases of anorexia nervosa at the Institute of Mental Health's (IMH) eating disorders and child guidance clinics in 2001. The number dipped to 24 in 2002, but this was four times as many in 1994. Nearly three out of four IMH patients surveyed by IMH in 2002 were students, proportionally more from all-girl schools. (H1)

Singapore's very own 'Central park' will be built by 2004 in the central catchment area, which stretches between the Upper Seletar and MacRitchie reservoir parks, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said yesterday. The park will have boardwalks, hiking trails, a canopy walkway and an observation tower. (H4)

A record 29 million passengers used Changi Airport in 2002, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said yesterday. Passenger traffic slipped to 28.1 million in 2001, from a previous record of 28.6 million in 2000. (H5)

Local actress Irin GAN, 31, was charged in traffic court yesterday with careless driving. H8)




Around the world

London: The British government is abolishing A and O levels and replacing them with a version of the International Baccalaureate in one of the biggest shakeups the education system has seen. All students will work towards the baccalaureate from the age of 14 and the curriculum will make room for vocational subjects. There will be no national exams for sixteen-year-olds. (3)




To assist you in tracing the above news articles in The Straits Times, we have provided the section and page numbers at the end of each news article. Therefore, (12): main section page 12; (S4): sports section page 4; (A10): asia section page 10; (L3): life section page 3.

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