In its first-quarter financial result briefing, SMRT’s Chief Financial Officer Manfred Seah blamed the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for halting a project of engine replacement and refurbishment of 66 of its oldest trains. The contract of undisclosed value with Toshiba Japan was signed and the machine parts were paid for in 2014 through SMRT’s subsidiary, Singapore Rail Engineering. As a result, SMRT incurred an operating loss of S$2.7 million as a result.
“Singapore Rail Engineering had incurred an operating loss of $2.7 million. This was due mainly to Singapore Rail Engineering’s provision for costs associated with the suspension of works relating to the end-of- life refurbishment of trains pending a decision by the authorities.”
SMRT defended their decision to purchase the motor parts from Toshiba saying that the new motors are more reliable and will be less costly in the long run. Responding to media queries, LTA said that they are “still reviewing” whether it is better to purchase new trains or proceed with the refurbishment work. Till today, no decision is finalised after 2 years since 2014.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has no comment on this issue and has been avoiding media press release, choosing to present them through the LTA spokesperson. Earlier last week, the CEO of LTA, a former army general, resigned and the Singapore’s public transport train system is currently in a wreckage with breakdowns as frequent as thrice a week. There is no replacement for the LTA’s CEO position yet. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan is barely after his first year as the former Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew resigned. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has no comment on the troubles of the public transport system.