Local Media Outlets Are Trying To Cool Singaporeans Down Amid Heated Response Over Water Price Increase

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Hike In Water Prices

The price of water in Singapore has become a hot topic recently, with many unhappy about the 30% hike. But our mainstream media outlets have produced so many articles to cheer us up, and we’re so grateful to them.

So far, we believe this is an accurate representation of Singaporeans towards the price increase:

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Aggrieved

Singapore Democratic Party leader Chee Soon Juan stepped in to point out that we’re already paying three layers of tax on the water we use, and temperatures were raised further when member of parliament Lee Bee Wah made a baffling statement regarding the reason for the price hike.

Just go to any related article on social media about the hike in water prices and you can find tons of displeased netizens.

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Hold Your Horses

Calm down, it’s not that bad!

At least that seems to the message that Singapore’s mainstream media outlets The Straits Times, Channel News Asia and Today are trying to drill into our heads.

Waves and waves of articles have been published about how the increase in water prices are justified and that we’ve NOTHING to worry about.

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Let’s see what they are saying:

The Straits Times

1. Bigger hike in water prices needed to curb waste: Experts (Feb 22, 2017)

This article not only says the 30% hike is justified, but prices should in fact have been raised even more!

To drive home the point, the paper gathered experts like Professor Ng Yew Kwang of Nanyang Technological University’s Division of Economics, who said “the 30% increase in the price of water is not excessive” and that “there should’ve been a larger, one-step increase “to give a larger awakening effect for saving water” instead of the phased hikes”.

Walao, you want us to pay even more?!?

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2. Cost to supply water ballooned, says PUB (Feb 24, 2017)

In another article to justify the increase, this article called on the PUB to tell us that the cost of operating Singapore’s water supply increased drastically from $500 million in 2000 to $1.3 billion in 2015.

So, a 30% price hike doesn’t sound that bad after all eh?

3. How to use less water to have more? Look to Europe (Feb 23, 2017)

Now that the water price hike is a reality, we have been called to learn from our European counterparts, instead of griping about the price.

The average Singaporean uses 151 litres of water daily, it says, compared with European countries that use between 130 to 100 litres per person.

It’s like your boss saying: “See? Your colleague Ah Kow doesn’t mind staying in the office till 10pm and working through lunch, why you cannot follow him?”

4. Soften the impact of water price rise (Feb 22, 2017)

To show that hey, there are normal Singaporeans who agree with the hike, The Straits Times produces one of their forum letters. After all, ST forum contributors are renowned for their intellect and reasoning abilities.

The article claims “the rationale behind the 30% increase in the price of water in the Budget statement is understandable”, before suggesting that measures can be put in place to reward those who cut their water usage and conserve water.

Channel NewsAsia

1. Never an ideal time for water price hike: Lawrence Wong (Feb 23, 2017)

Channel NewsAsia turned to a minister to impart life-changing lessons to us. What Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong could come up with is that “there is never an ideal time” for a rise.

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So apparently that means that they can raise prices anytime they like?!?

There may not be an ideal time, but surely there is a really bad time for a hike?

And that’s when the economy is slowing, people are getting retrenched and taking a longer time to find a job? 

Surely the better time to implement this is when our economy has improved and everyone is more financially secure.

2. Majority of households will find water price increase affordable: Indranee (Feb 23, 2017)

Apparently our ministers have been working overtime to assure us these past few days.

CNA also quoted Senior Minister of State for Finance Indranee Rajah as saying at a post-Budget forum that GST U-save rebates mean those living in one- and two- room HDB flats won’t experience the increase at all. Those living in four-room flats will just see just a $5 increase.

But what if you’re in the minority that don’t find the increase affordable, though? Tough, I guess.

3. Need to ‘bite the bullet’ in raising water prices: Indranee Rajah (Feb 21, 2017)

Ms Rajah also answered questions regarding the price hike on 938LIVE radio station’s Talkback call-in show.

When asked if the price hike could be held off until the economy improves, she replied “next year you won’t know what the economy will be like”, and urged people to “bite the bullet”.

We think many people who heard that may have been thinking of biting something else instead.

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Today

1. Hawkers, coffee shops to keep prices despite water cost hike (Feb 23, 2017)

Instead of focusing on the negative, credit goes to Today for highlighting the positive instead.

So rejoice! You can still enjoy your favourite kopitiam kopi-c and ice milo at their usual prices.

Poor uncle doesn’t realise he’s pouring out gold here:

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Even notable brands like Toast Box and Ya Kun Kaya Toast has said they will “not be making drastic increases in our product prices to stay competitive.”

Similarly, other businesses say they will take the water price hike in their stride.

We guess that’s all good — but how long can these businesses absorb the costs, we wonder.

2. Debating the real cost of drinking water (Feb 20, 2017)

Today then got academics in on the act, to add a little intellectual rigor to the debate.

Singapore’s decision to raise water prices is “to be applauded”, according to this article.

They went one step further, stating that studies show that “pricing can affect behaviour” with “strong evidence to suggest that under-priced or free water leads to very inefficient uses of water, including increased wastage”.

Ah so, it’s the Lee Bee Wah “raise awareness” argument. Ms Lee should have quoted these guys so that we can blame them instead!

3. Govt will ensure ‘higher water prices do not hurt Singapore’s competitiveness’ (Feb 9, 2017)

Way before the water price hike was announced in Budget 2017, Today was already preparing Singapore for it.

It reported that Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said national water agency PUB will ensure that the competitiveness of Singapore businesses to attract industries will not be sacrificed — to make sure Singapore remains globally competitive.

Look On The Bright Side

While it’s definitely not something to cheer about, perhaps the impending price increase of water isn’t all doom and gloom for us.

We can always trust our dear mainstream media to cheer us up when we are down.

Too bad they can’t also provide us with free water.

Featured Image from Google and Fanaru.

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