The public uproar against the 30 percent hike in water prices was not quelled despite the Prime Minister wading into it. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong linked one of his Minister’s speech in support of the hike to his Facebook and explained why water has got to be priced properly.
He explained that the price hike has got to be viewed from the perspective that many households will receive subsidies to help them cope with the rise.
“We should see the 30% increase in perspective. Many households will get additional U-Save rebates. So 1- and 2-room HDB households will not see any nett increase at all. For most other HDB flats, the nett increase will only be between $2 to $11 per month. For three quarters of businesses, water bills will go up by less than a $1 per day ($25 per month).”
Many commenters on Mr Lee’s post expressed that thy were not convinced by his assurances.
Visakan Veerasamy who was one of the bloggers invited by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to visit him in 2012, perhaps expressed the opinion of many when he said that people may not have a fundamental disagreement that water was a scarce commodity, but about how the price increase was thrust upon them.
“I don’t think anybody has any fundamental disagreement with how scarce water is; I think most people just hate feeling like the G can spring new costs on them out of the blue. This may or may not be true, but that’s what it feels like.
So the question people will want answered is, “Today this, tomorrow what?
Might be a good idea to lay out projections for likely price increases of any other commodities / services in the future, so that it doesn’t surprise people when it comes. Not as much, at least.”
Another blogger who described the 30 percent water hike as ‘Watergate’, pointed out how the former Environment and Water Resources Minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, said just before the last General Election that there was no necessity for water price to inrease.
The blogger Cynical Investor said: “Either in 2015 (before GE) the PAP administration didn’t do their homework leading a minster to mislead S’poreans and parly, or in 2017 the cabinet didn’t read what the then minister said in 2015 when making the decision to raise prices.”