Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan today answered questions filed by several MPs on the expose by Factwire on SMRT’s defective trains (https://theindependent.sg/smrt-secretly-shipping-35-prc-made-trains-back-to-china-for-repairs), and seemed to contradict what he said when he first commented on the defective trains which were shipped back to the manufacturer for rectification.
In speaking to members of the mainstream media at the Bishan Depot on 12 Jul, the Minister reportedly said that his Ministry deemed that the cracks were not “a major event” to be reported. He also suggested that members of the public are not engineers, for whom not all cracks are the same.
Today however, the Transport Minister admitted that both LTA and SMRT could have been more forthcoming on the issue about the 26 defective SMRT trains. “Sometimes in public comms, more info is better than less info,” he said.
Mr Khaw cited several reasons why the authorities did not go public about the defective trains. One being that the the defective trains did not pose any safety risk to commuters, and that the manufacturer took “immediate and full responsibility for the defects.”
“(Kawasaki) committed to fully replace the bolsters with a new set made in Japan, weld them to the new car bodies and reassemble the trains in China. All these remedial actions will be fully paid for by the manufacturer,” said Khaw.
He further added that the manufacturer accepted LTA’s replacement work schedule, which is planned in such a way to ensure that train services and capacity levels are not affected by the incident.
Khaw said that, “had any of these factors not been satisfactorily dealt with, LTA would have publicised the defects.”