In his speech on the flooded train tunnel incident on Tuesday (Nov 7), Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that he always thought Singapore is “far ahead of Hong Kong”:
“My friends and I from the engineering sector were embarrassed that the Hong Kong rail system was running better than Singapore’s. For a long time, we always compared ourselves to Hong Kong and said we are far ahead of them, as engineers. And when their MRT is running much better than our MRT, it’s terrible.”
Minister Khaw Boon Wan also insisted that rail reliability has improved 3 times, attributing government-doctored statistics:
“For our MRT network, it has improved significantly from 133,000 train-km in 2015 to 425,000 train-km this year. For years, it could not even reach 100,000 train-km. That is how far we have come. The improvement is real and significant and is experienced by all the 5 MRT lines, including the oldest North-South and East-West Lines.”
SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek today (Nov 8) today issued out an internal email circular to all SMRT staff, saying that he has been shamed by a few individuals:
“The 30th anniversary of MRT operations should have been a celebration. Instead, we were awash in collective shame because a few of our staff had let us down. They did not do what they were entrusted to. Their supervisors assumed that nothing would go wrong just because it hadn’t gone wrong before.”
The former army general will remain CEO despite having screwed up the country’s first world train infrastructure. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan defended Desmond Kuek claiming he volunteered for the million-dollar CEO job.