Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) defended their decision to continue engaging China manufacturer, Sifang, awarding them S$800 million of contracts even after the first batch of trains saw 26 defective trains out of 33 ordered.
In a media interview with The Straits Times, LTA said that the China manufacturer had “top scores for quality”, and that the Singapore government “looked at overall quality”:
“We looked at the overall quality that the contractor can deliver and also considered that the contractor was able to quickly identify the cause of the defects, take responsibility and carry out the necessary action promptly to rectify the fault. The quality score is based on different aspects such as technical proposals, project management and train manufacturer competency. Kawasaki Heavy Industries also had a proven track record, having provided the first set of trains for the North-South and East-West lines.”
The defective trains are believed to be the key reason behind the resignation of former Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, and many believe that the Committee of Inquiry (COI) called on the train breakdowns produced unreliable and false information to the public by covering up the problem of defective trains.
There has been no single individual identified to be penalised responsible for the fiasco. It is understood the decision makers are in the high level management like the Minister, and hence is untouchable.
The transport operator in the centre of the debacle, SMRT, and its former-army-general CEO Desmond Kwek is still silent on the matter. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan is pushing public enquiries to his stat board LTA, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is nowhere to be found. SMRT CEO Desmond Kwek is the highest paid CEO in the transport industry and he took home S$1.87 million last year.