Hmm.. Really? Singapore’s reputation on the line? Which foreigners have their eyes glued on our failing MRT system, if it’s not already in ICU?
Khaw compares SMRT with Hong Kong’s MTR and admits we have plenty to catch up. However, Khaw seems to have disclosed some erroneous statistics. With regard to the number of major SMRT disruptions (more than 30 minutes), it has been highlighted by TOC that there were 29 instead of 10 in 2014. By stating MTR had 12 major disruptions and SMRT only 10, it makes paper general Desmond Kuek’s SMRT look better, which may not be true. (TOC is awaiting MOT’s reply but is likely to get none. Acknowledging this type of error will cause PAP ministers to lose too much face.)
Khaw: “My immediate priority is on these major disruptions: What caused the past disruptions, can we prevent a repeat, what other possible causes have we identified, and have we addressed those causes as well?”
Hadn’t former transport minister Lui already determined the causes of past disruptions such as track fault, power fault, electrical fault, door fault, train fault, signal fault, etc? My humble suggestion is it may be PAP’s fault.
And didn’t Lui think about trying to prevent a repeat of unnecessary breakdowns?
Every MRT system experiences major disruptions. When Khaw mentions “even the MTR faces a major disruption …. once a month”, to prepare Singaporeans mentally for the next SMRT disruption, he is clearly trying to justify SMRT’s breakdowns. Why can’t PAP, for once, own up to its failure, look at the issue in the eye instead of hitting others below the belt?
Khaw should bear in mind that at the rate we are ‘progressing’, our rail system can’t even match MTR’s in the next 50 years. Don’t forget that Hong Kong’s MTR is the world’s most envied metro system. The Hong Kong government employs CEOs who are experienced and well qualified, such as Jay Waldner who was former CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the New York metropolitan area, MD for Finance and Planning at Transport for London, etc. Waldner had more than 2 decades of experience in public transportation before joining MTR.
When PAP appointed SMRT CEOs paper general Kuek and Saw Paik Wah, both with ZERO relevant experience, it was effectively planning to fail.
Although Khaw has tried to assure Singaporeans “we shall catch up” with Hong Kong’s MTR, it should be clear that it is an impossible task. In 1991, even after the MRT system was up and running, PAP had projected a total population of only 4 million between 2030 and 2040.
Source: URA Concept Plan 1991 (pg 12)
Ten years later in URA’s Concept Plan 2001, PAP’s “vision for the next 40 to 50 years.. is based on a population scenario of 5.5 million” (pg 7). PAP had planned for a 5.5 million population between 2041 and 2051 but we have already exceeded this in 2015.
As I have mentioned numerous times, PAP has been engaging in suka-suka planning. It is able to do so because there are no checks, transparency and accountability. We don’t need to be a scholar to know that a rail system not designed for the current population will break down more frequently as our population heads towards 7 million and beyond. This is common sense and no motherhood statements from Khaw or PAP will prevent the inevitable.