Photo from Straits Times

Defending the increase in fares and worsening rail reliability in public transport, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong claimed that Singaporeans have to pay more for “good reasons”. Without explaining further, the PM said that Singaporeans need to trust his government’s “evaluations” and that operators need the profits as “incentives”:

“It is on the surface an engineering problem, where the network has to have the right connections and coverage, sufficient capacity and flexibility, and be easily maintained so that trains run safely and reliably. On another level, it is an economic problem, with incentives needed for the different players – operators, asset owners, the Government and commuters – to help the whole system work well. Train ownership and maintenance, and payments and fares also need to be evaluated. Finally, public transport is a socio-political problem because millions of Singaporeans use it every day, and it is part of the shared experience of living in Singapore and being Singaporean. None of us likes it when fares go up. So how do we give the public the assurance that the system is fair, that it is well run, and that when fares go up, they have to go up for a good reason, and the increases are necessary and justified? We have to evaluate the trade-offs carefully and holistically, to decide what will work best, on the whole, for Singapore.”

The dictator PM was giving a pep talk to government university students from SUTD, and boasted about “SG100 and beyond”:

“It is time to reimagine and rebuild Singapore. We need development of a visionary plan that takes the country from SG50 to SG100 and beyond. Nearly every inch of our land is developed or planned for, and there does not seem to be any more empty space for development. So how can we reimagine and rebuild further? The answer is by freeing up new parcels of land, and enabling already developed parts of Singapore to be redeveloped, to be modernised and improved. With imagination and determination, we can do it.”

The Prime Minister who is preserving his father’s house, 38 Oxley Road, against the last will, said that he is only creating a “rich history like London, Shanghai, New York and Tokyo:

“Singapore should also capitalise on what previous generations have built. We should preserve the most important parts from the past, to maintain a sense of history and continuity, and add on the ideas and contributions of a new generation, so that like other great cities in the world – London, Paris, Shanghai, New York, Tokyo – Singapore can become a multi-layered city, a metropolis with a rich history, and yet is vibrant and alive, always changing, always new.”