Photo of Dr Liu Thai Ker from Peak Singapore

A member of the ruling party elite and long-time civil servant, Dr Liu Thai Ker, has told state media CNA in an interview that the Singapore population must continue to increase even if MRT trains keep breaking down:

“The recent spate of train breakdowns should not mean that Singapore’s population will have to stop growing. MRT breakdown has totally nothing to do with planning. It has everything to do with administration and management. You cannot say because the MRT breaks down, so we should not let the city grow. They are two unrelated issues.”

According to Transport Minister in an interview last year, SMRT had to increase the number of power substations to handle the population load during peak hour period. There were also multiple instances of power failure and track fault, caused by the increased train frequency and load.

Formerly the CEO of the HDB and URA, Dr Liu Thai Ker, who now sits as the Chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities has earlier earned praises from ruling party elites for proposing a 10 million population target for Singapore.

The 79-year-old also told the state media that Singapore would “grow into a phoenix in 50 years’ time” and boasted that he “personally have planned for the next 100 years”:

“As a planner, he had planned for Singapore’s growth 100 years into the future. I personally advocate for longer term projection because if the city were to grow into a phoenix in 50 years time, and you do small projection every five years, it will not be accurate. In fact, I claim that when you do a longer-term projection, it takes care of all the ups and downs; you actually have a more accurate answer.”

On the issue of housing affordability, Dr Liu Thai Ker defended the government claiming that S$1 million HDB sales have nothing to do with housing affordability. The ex-civil servant also claimed that housing price increases according to income, and called the phenomenon “a result of market forces”:

“The HDB’s mission of providing affordable homes is not in conflict with the record-breaking resale flat prices, since the latter are largely the result of market forces, not government intervention. If you are first-time applicants, you buy at the official prices set by HDB and that is affordable. The prices may have increased, but it’s in keeping with income increase. At the same time, the Government doesn’t want people living in a HDB flat to feel that it doesn’t have market value. And therefore, you are allowed to sell your flat one time and then re-apply for a new flat… Personally, I don’t see any conflict there, and the Government doesn’t rig the second-hand market.”