MP Lee Bee Wah’s “Raise Awareness” Comments on Water Price Hike Leaves Netizens Cold

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Strange Comment On Water Hike

It’s bad enough that we will soon be paying 30% more for water — one of the most essential things required to live.

But when a clueless politician makes a head-scratching comment about the issue, matters can come to a boil.

What Lee Bee Wah Said

Asked by Channel NewsAsia about the hike, Dr Lee Bee Wah, the member of parliament for Nee Soon GRC, produced this memorable chestnut:

And I think on one hand, the increase in the water price, is just to bring up the awareness of the importance of water.

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Her words were even caught on video. Here is the video, saved for posterity for all to admire for generations:

Pay More For Water

Singapore’s Budget statement for financial year (FY) 2017 was delivered on Monday (Feb 20) by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. Read our story on 8 Budget Initiatives That Give Singaporeans Something To Cheer About.

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He announced that for the first time since 2000, water tariffs will be increased. The hike will be carried out in two stages on  July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018 — with the total increase amounting to 30%, inclusive of tax.

For households with a consumption of 40 cubic metres or less, each cubic metre of water will cost 92 cents. Those that consume more than 40 cubic metres will find themselves paying $1.18 per cubic metre.

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Netizens Roast Her

Ms Lee Bee Wah’s comments galvanised keyboard warriors, who took to social media.

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If raising the price of water can highlight the importance of water, please, please raise our salaries too — to raise awareness on how our jobs are crucial in keeping the economy running.

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This user hit the nail on the head. #logic

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Others seemed to be fed up with the ruling party.

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And yet again the issue of population expansion was brought up.

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Even Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan chimed in with his views — posting a message on the SDP’s website about how the Government is taking advantage of Singaporeans.

Read our story about Dr Chee and the 3 layers of taxes we are already paying on water.

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Lacking PR Skills?

While we acknowledge that Ms Lee Bee Wah is highly qualified and educated — she has a Masters of Science (Engineering) from the University of Liverpool and was bestowed an honorary PhD by the varsity in 2011 — her response could signify a lack of PR skills on her part, said some contributors on Reddit.

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Only after reading user freedaemons’ comment did one user understand Ms Lee’s point.

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Water Wastage

The raise in prices won’t be an unreasonable move if we take into account recent PUB statistics showing that water usage and wastage has been on the rise in Singapore.

At present, an average person in Singapore uses 150 litres of water a day, which is far more than the usage in other cities of comparable living standards like Tallinn, Estonia’s capital.

Even world-renowned water expert, Prof Asit Biswas, told The Straits Times that “he would increase water prices here by 30% immediately” as water supplies are drying up at an alarming rate.

Help For LBW

Thus, Ms Lee should have highlighted these points when she was interviewed.

So we at MustShareNews took it upon ourselves to help her by rephrasing her comment to make it more PR friendly.

Perhaps she could have said something like this instead:

Singapore’s water usage and wastage is too high, and an increase in water prices will prompt Singaporeans to curb the unnecessary use of water to prevent water supplies from drying up too fast. 

Let us all work together and do our part in water conservation.

There, isn’t that much better?

Watch What You Say

This is not the first time one of our politicians has said something that struck a raw nerve.

We certainly hope our dear leaders can think carefully before they speak next time, or at least hire good PR people who can drill them in what to say when interviewed on various topics.

After all, they receive high salaries for a reason, right?

It’s partly to prevent themselves from coming out with things like this: Read our story on 15 Quotes From Singaporean Politicians That Are Either Hard Truths or Half-Baked.

Featured Image from The Independent and King5

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