In what he calls a “worthy investment”, the new Transport Minister announced that he will be spending more than S$1 billion of taxes on 99 new trains to be given to SMRT and SBS Transit operating the North-South, East-West, Circle and North-East lines.

As part of the S$1 billion purchases, SMRT and SBS Transit rail engineers and technical staff will be sent to overseas factories where the trains are assembled and tested.

Minister Khaw Boon Wan however did not comment why the two private corporations did not pay for the new trains and training, and why Singapore taxpayers have to fork out the S$1 billion bill.

ComfortDelgro, the owner holdings of SBS Transit, and SMRT are publicly-listed transport operators which pay dividends to private investors. This is also the second time the Singapore government use taxes to fund these private companies. In 2012, the Singapore government gave the two companies S$1.1 billion worth of buses under the guise of Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP).