Photo of Indranee Rajah from Today

Insisting that the exorbitant potential multi-billion-dollar project Terminal 5 must continue, Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah said in Parliament that the government will find “optimal ways” to tax Singaporeans. The PAP Minister was responding to the comments of International Air Transport Association (IATA) condemning the government for making travellers pre-pay for any infrastructure not already operated and used by travellers:

“The Government is still in the process of seeking the most optimal way to do the funding.  We don’t rule out different ways of doing the funding but we are not committed to a single model. In short, we will try and find the most optimal way to do the funding and spread it out over the proper period of time.”

Terminal 5 must proceed and no objection is allowed.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Feb 6 condemned the Singapore government for charging extra fees to pre-pay for Terminal 5. IATA Chief Executive Alexandre de Juniac made public his criticisms at the Singapore Air Show today:

“The IATA is strongly against any pre-financing of any infrastructure. We shouldn’t pay first without having the infrastructure ready to be operated and used by airlines and by the users.”

In Dec 2017, the Singapore Transport Ministry has earlier announced through it’s state media Straits Times that all travellers will have to pay up to S$15 extra per trip to finance the construction of Terminal 5. The state media also reported that charges for airlines, including parking and landing fees, are expected to rise by about 30%:

“Fees and charges for travellers flying out of Changi Airport and airlines operating there could increase from as early as next year. This is to help pay for the future Terminal 5 (T5), which is slated for completion around 2030.”

Senior Minister Indranee Rajah also claimed that the Singapore government has always been “cost-efficient” and said Singaporeans should trust the government and it’s “comprehensive measures” and “rigorous process”:

“For publicly-funded infrastructure projects, comprehensive measures have been put in place to ensure cost-efficiency, with the Government placing greater scrutiny on projects that are of higher value or risk. Projects that exceed S$100 million are subject to scrutiny by the ministry overseeing the project, as well as the Ministry of Finance (MOF) before they are allowed to proceed. The Centre for Public Project Management (CP2M), comprising a multi-disciplinary team of architects, engineers and quantity surveyors, was set up in 2011 to help the MOF perform this role. After the project passes the review by MOF, approval must be obtained from the Development Planning Committee (DPC), which is made up of three Cabinet Ministers. For projects that are estimated to cost above S$500 million, such as Changi’s Terminal 5, they will be put through a rigorous gateway process. This involves several stages of reviews by senior public officers, academics and industry practitioners who form the Development Projects Advisory Panel (DPAP) before being submitted to the DPC for approval. The first stage of review assesses the strategic business case of the project and allows MOF and DPAP to be involved upstream in project planning. The second stage seeks to refine and optimise the overall design, including the space take-up, construction method and procurement approach, to achieve greater value-for-money. The gateway process also allows agencies to work with DPAP to come up with alternative solutions.”

However, Minister Indranee Rajah failed to point out that the 3 Ministers giving approval, the MOF, CP2M, DPAP and all other committees are all government cronies obeying the instruction of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Cronyism is an active appointment policy in the public service, and it would be vital in the PM’s pet project Terminal 5.