Photo from The Straits Times

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan blamed the trains for being “old” over the Freon gas leak in a MRT train at Tanjong Pagar station on Monday (Aug 15). Telling the obvious and calling it a “lesson to be learnt”, Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that the 20-odd year old train is not the same as a new train and so Singaporeans should lower their expectations:

“The affected train is an old one, and the train and air-conditioning compressors are almost 20-odd years by now. Engineers are pulling apart the compressor to see what caused the leakage. We need to know why, because there is a three-weekly check on the compressor as part of routine maintenance and the last time we checked this particular compressor, it was only about 10 days ago.

A lesson to be learnt: Old assets are not the same as new ones, and particular attention must be paid to maintenance. It’s like the human body. If you look after your body well from Day One, when you are 40 or 50 years old, you can maintain pretty good form. But a 40-year-old is not the same as a 14-year-old, and likewise for trains.”

Freon gas is a toxic odourless gas that will cut off oxygen to the lungs. SMRT did not issue the health warning and passengers are photographed holding their breath when they should be evacuated.