Photo from Roy Ngerng

Singapore’s privatized public transport operator SMRT announced in their biennial company dinner yesterday (May 21) that they will be donating $100,000 to “help the poor and needy” after booking a $91 million for Financial Year 2015.

Photo from Straits Times
Photo from The Straits Times

The news was carried by Singapore government-controlled mainstream media Channel News Asia in what seems to be another public relations attempt to whitewash SMRT’s strew of unpopular train breakdowns and fare hike for profit.

In the May of 2014, the Singapore government through the Public Transport Council raised public train and bus fares which led to the roaring profits of the two Temasek Holdings-owned transport conglomerates: SMRT and ComfortDelgro (SBS).

Despite the fare hike, service standards worsen and the issues of overcrowding in train stations remained unaddressed. According to the Land Transport Authority, between January and September of 2014, there were 36 SMRT train delays lasting more than 10 minutes and 266 SMRT train delays lasting more than 5 minutes. The statistic has not yet accounted for SBS trains.

In the past, public trains and buses were nationalized and train break downs were unheard of. Today, the public transport is privatized and commercialized to maximize profits from commuters. The 2 corporations are irresponsible and unapologetic for their actions because there is no market competition in Singapore.

Along with the Singapore Government, SMRT and SBS have received criticisms for the soaring profits that correlates with the increasing fare hikes every year. Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has largely been on the receiving end of these criticisms due to his incapability to solve the woes of overcrowding and fare hikes.