Photo of Khaw Boon Wan from CNA

After spending S$3.2 billion on a centralised railway depot, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan openly lied that he helped Singaporeans to save S$2 billion by choosing to integrate the four depots into one. The PAP Minister wrote on his Facebook page, plucking the S$2 billion figure from thin air:

“By 2024, this 4-in-1 integrated facility will house three rail depots (Thomson-East Coast Line, Downtown Line, East-West Line) and a bus depot. The construction will cost about $3.2 billion. But if we were to build the four depots as separate depots, we would have to incur an additional $2 billion! So this 4-in-1 solution saves taxpayers a huge sum of money. Besides cost savings, this design also frees up 44 hectares of land – the size of two Changi T4s! A truly excellent example of maximising land use through creative thinking.

It appears either the Transport Minister’s poor grasp of English resulted in the fake news, or that the minister is deliberately misleading the country when this is an obvious case of “S$3.2 billion spent”, and not “S$2 billion saved”.

The centralised railway depot simply made up of 3 levels, each serving a dedicated train line – East-West, Thomson-East and Downtown Line. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan however hailed the 3-storey infrastructure as “out-of-the-box creative solution”:

“In 2009, LTA rail engineer Adrian Teo and his project team were given the huge responsibility of building train depots for the Thomson-East Coast Line and Downtown Line. Their brief was to think of out-of the-box creative solutions that are future-proof, safe and also cost effective. And succeed they did! The #EastCoastIntegratedDepot was the team’s innovative answer to our growing infrastructure needs in land-scarce #Singapore.”

The Transport Ministry overspent by 52.8% to S$13 billion for FY2018 compared to S$8.9 billion a year ago, due to poor planning by the minister.