Saturday, February 6, 2021

Let us congratulate Singapore, Together as a nation

Singapore's latest and the fourth new water treatment plant that can produce 30 million daily gallons of drinking water earns our accolades.

The plant started operating on June 29, 2020 right in the midst of a global pandemic.

The latest plant is operated by Marina East Water Pte Ltd for a 25-year concession period from 2020 to 2045 under the design, build, own, and operate arrangement with the Public Utilities Board (PUB), the republic’s national water agency.

Not only was this latest plant operationalised within budget but was right on schedule despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is a further testament to the resilience of what I term as the "Singaporean determination".

Across the causeway, can we say the same?

Take the sad, heart-wrenching case of the Tebrau Residence in Johor Bahru under the 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA).

Originally promised to be delivered to the hopeful citizens in January 2020, it has been postponed several times, with the latest indicated date for possession in April 2021.

It is causing untold hardship to the citizens.

Likewise, while we have abundant rivers, dams and rainfall in Malaysia, poisoning our precious water sources are not rare incidents.

Water cuts have become a way of life, too, given the numerous instances of unsafe drinking water detected owing to wilful pollution crimes or to burst pipelines or treatment plants breaking down.

What is it that makes Singapore succeed with lightning speed and determination whereas we in Malaysia keep stumbling all the time?

Will there not come a time when Singapore will kiss goodbye to our Malaysian water supply?

With Singapore's latest marvel of seawater desalination, the tiny nation has now added a fourth practically limitless source of clean water for consumption.

Lest we easily forget, we in Malaysia were sold on the "Look East" dream decades ago by our political leaders.

And we also kept spending millions of taxpayers' money on countless "Belajar sambil cuti" global trots - all in the name of making Malaysia even greater.

We privatised our water supply and are still struggling to give a guaranteed, uninterrupted, clean, safe water to each household nationwide.

But Singapore stuck with its PUB and has succeeded in planning far ahead into the distant future.

Today, the island state has the proven capability of treating both seawater and fresh water, thus even beating nature's weather dictates.

Malaysians must stop being sucked up into the worn defensive mindset that was also often the prescription dished out by a former and two-time prime minister, namely, that Singapore's success cannot be compared with Malaysia.

"They are only a tiny island compared to Malaysia's growing 30 million population."

It is not about comparing apples with oranges. It is about political will, political direction, leadership and, above all, strictly saying no to corruption.

If we are willing to learn from this "Singaporean determination", we can reform our ailing and beloved Malaysia.

In fact, what Singapore has achieved will truly be an inspiration for the rest of its Asean- member nations, too.

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