20150721 No solution for train breakdowns because LTA not held accountable

I refer to “LTA seeks to attract more engineers” (20 July).

After years of train breakdowns, LTA has finally realised it requires more engineers. It is currently on a hiring spree for engineering graduates. To make the job more attractive, LTA has decided to throw tax dollars to employ a “branding and marketing consultant to convince people … land transport sector provides attractive career choices”.

LTA aims to “improve the industry’s image (LTA, SMRT and SBS Transit = government) which has been battered by a recent spate of breakdowns and project failures”. The spate of breakdowns is not as “recent” as LTA claims and has been ongoing for many years. For confirmation, visit FAILRAIL.sg.

Where “project failures” are concerned, no amount of marketing will be able to improve the government’s image. Project failures will continue as if nothing has happened because nothing has happened to top management who screwed up. PAP can’t simply substitute accountability with PR and hope failure will somehow turn into success.

Although LTA claims it is anticipating “manpower needs”, without providing any figures, it is more likely trying to address the existing shortage of qualified engineers. This is because LTA must have overlooked SMRT’s improper maintenance due to its current shortage of engineers.

The article reveals a shocking fact – LTA engineers were offered an irresistible pay package – their pay was trebled – to work on the Kuala Lumpur MRT project. How could a country with a much lower cost of living offer such a relatively exorbitant pay to Singaporean professionals? There was obviously a host of other negative factors which made the choice to leave LTA so much easier for its engineers.

In place of those engineers who had left are ‘talents’ from “India, China, the Philippines and Myanmar”! It will be a miracle if LTA somehow manages to attract local engineers to work for third world wages.

Although LTA is the regulator, PAP and the mainstream media have distracted its failure from the public and none has been held accountable. In fact, ex LTA CEO Chew Hock Yong was recognised for his contributions and promoted to Second Perm Sec of MND.

As the regulator, LTA doesn’t seem to know what the heck has been happening in SMRT. LTA should not implement more cosmetic changes but listen to what this ex-SMRT engineer has to say about frequent breakdowns.

Our land transport network has been expanding for decades, not since yesterday. The demand for engineers meant wages would have increased but instead of allowing market forces to determine wages, PAP intervened by allowing an unlimited supply of ‘cheaperer’ engineers from the countries mentioned above.

What LTA is currently doing is similar to the government paying itself (Mediacorp TV) for commercials (marketing) to encourage more Singaporeans to take up nursing. But the issue has always been PAP depressing nursing wages by allowing an unlimited pool of ‘foreign talents’ to work here for generous third world wages. It’s only after having depressed wages that PAP claims the low take up rate necessitates more foreign labour. PAP should stop playing games and allow market forces to increase nurses’ pay. They deserve better.

Another round of depressing wages by PAP – millions of Indian nurses who do not mind working for $1,150. Alamak, how can nurses’ salary increase like that?

Source: The Alternative View

According to LTA, SMRT and SBS Transit “face increasing difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff… especially for roles like engineers, rail technicians, bus drivers and bus technicians”. LTA should not feign ignorance and direct its concern to its political master who has caused the problem – PAP (in cahoots with NTUC) has been depressing local wages since last century.

As the regulator of PTOs, LTA should be jointly responsible for train breakdowns but it has been let off the hook. It’s not surprising that LTA appears not to have understood the permanent solution to train breakdowns go beyond cosmetic changes.

PAP did not plan to expand our public transport network yesterday and LTA should have been advertising for engineers years ago.

The only solution is to fire senior LTA management who were jointly responsible for never-ending train breakdowns. PAP should not allow all the dead weights at LTA to continue hanging around as if the issue of accountability doesn’t matter.

This entry was posted in POLITICS, SMRT/SBS TRANSIT. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 20150721 No solution for train breakdowns because LTA not held accountable

  1. Anonymouse says:

    Our govt already mastered their super “稳赚“ business plan everywhere, like our work safety laws: Ultimate responsibility and costs throw to everyone else, their job relac sit there, look pretty, and roll in the dollars only.

  2. Peasant says:

    I think the breakdown revealed a systematic failure of all parties in ensuring the public transport is running smoothly. But, who is responsible, accountable and performing their due diligence ? Or who will take the blame when something is wrong ? It is obvious who need to come forward to explain the fault and take the hit but who came forward in the end….. Does any one want to become Zero ?

  3. Insider says:

    LTA is not only the regulator but also the developer. The current MRT infrastructure, including the signalling, P-ways and rolling stock were all selected by LTA during design. The maintenance regime was also determined by LTA and SMRT inherited it directly when LTA when it was first corporatised and then privatised. Everyone blames SMRT for the breakdown but the seed was sown by LTA and SMRT ended up being blamed totally. Just watch out for Thomson line as the same shenanigans will happen.

    • phillip ang says:

      What’s really bad now will only get worse cause system not even designed for current population. Hope PAP realises there’s a price to pay for no action taken against easy target SMRT. PAP may sacrifice its pawn if it’s desperate enough to want to retain its power. It’s almost impossible to get LTA heads to roll.

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