‘MRT Reliability tripled since I took over’ – Transport Minister’s “ownself praise ownself” comments roasted by irate commuters


Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has come under fire for his comments about the MRT system at a forum on infrastructure management yesterday.

In his speech, Khaw praised himself, saying that MRT reliability has improved by three times since he took over from his predecessor, Lui Tuck Yew, and that all five MRT lines have improved.

He shared that trains have travelled an average of 393,000 train-kilometres before a delay of more than five minutes in the first half of this year as opposed to travelling an average of 133,000 train-kilometres between delays in 2015 when Lui was heading the ministry. The minister said, “versus what we (had) inherited two years ago, I think this may be a C-plus. Next year, we should go for B. The following year, certainly before election, must be (an) A.”

He also asserted that the number of major delays exceeding 30 minutes has decreased from 10 in the first half of 2016 to 3 in the first half of 2017.

However, this data DOES NOT INCLUDE delays due to re-signalling works on the North-South Line.

Persistent train breakdowns have plagued the North-South Line and, as a result, affected services on the other MRT lines throughout the year. Here are updates on SMRT’s own twitter page announcing delays:

It must be noted that this does not include the other delays that SMRT has failed to report on their twitter page – such as the 4 day silence between 3-6 June 2017 when commuters faced agonising breakdowns due to signalling issues that crippled the North-South Line.

In spite of this, Khaw asserted that re-signalling works went smoother than “what we feared” and that the works are expected to be stabilised by the end of 2017.

He also boasted that he wants trains to travel 1 million train-kilometres before a delay of more than five minutes from the original target of 800,000 train-kilometres before a delay, set last year. The target has risen since the Taiperi Metro – against which our local system is benchmarked – was able to achieve 1 million train-kilometres before a delay in 2016.

Khaw cited this goal and the statistics above to conclude that MRT reliability has improved. However, several questions remain unanswered:

Why is reliability measured by distance travelled between faults? Why doesn’t the length of delays and time taken to recover from breakdowns taken into consideration?

Can the greater distance travelled be solely indicative of the reliability of the system? Or is it a result of other reasons such as new stations being added to train lines and more trains being added to the existing train fleet?


While these questions are yet to be addressed, irate commuters have gone online to roast the Minister over his comments:

In his remarks at the forum yesterday, the minister also took issue with the media’s coverage of re-signalling works and the problems commuters face as a result. Opining that the media has “magnified the problem unfairly,” he said, “Even the main media have turned tabloid. Yes, exciting and so on… frightening readers.”

He added that such works are very complex but that the media “think it’s so easy… like holding a pen and writing a few articles, and get the signalling done.”

“I wish it was so simple. If it were so simple, they don’t need us. We can ask the reporter to run the train system,” he quipped.


One commuter, sales and marketing manager Ashley Wu, responded: “It’s not as if the press has been reporting things that are not happening. Interviewing people about how the breakdowns are affecting their daily lives is not being sensational.”

Academic Hawyee Auyong from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy added: “The experience of many commuters recently is disruption on almost a daily basis. If press coverage doesn’t match everyday experience, then the press loses credibility.”


  1. KBW f*cked up – HDB, transport & ministry of health. He is so incompetent he should just go back to his country of birth instead of screwing up peoples lives here.

  2. Seems like someone’s assistant didn’t give the correct script for him to read… Should be read as “Since I took over, MRT reliability has fell 3 times…”

    He is better of looking for the elusive dragonfly… Maybe will find it 3 times as quickly then others…

  3. Doesn’t matter that it fell from 5 to 3. A delay is a delay even if it’s 5min. And ALL breakdowns occurred during peak period. Ppl late for work or going home.

  4. Why he is still want to hold on tight to that Minister position. Already earned $Millions,should step down and time to give the young people a chance to performed.

    • If this is managed by oppositions, they will be sued until pants drop. Own party ministers, they r faultless. The faults r external signalling faults. Our ministers r good men n women. Don’t make mistake, small mistakes like overspent $Millions just say sorry, Worst case got few extra marital affairs, just Ownself resign.

  5. Train fault, signal fault, track fault, power fault, door fault, air-con fault, rain fault, human fault…no more excuse liao, never mind, now re-signalling works is a very good excuse which can use everyday, everywhere…

  6. Used to be someone I had some respect BUT not anymore. He is behaving like someone under pressure and unable to manage it, because he is out of his depth! Reliability improved since he took over? Why not look further back and see how well the system performed before the era of high salaries and so-called military personnel took over? Why not compare with high performing systems in 1st world countries? Always looking for easy way out and now have the gall to ask the reporters to do his job. Step aside for someone more capable!

  7. Improve a small bit but destroy the reliability of the Mrt system and public transport reputation. That’s a real achievement. Better u not do anything and remain as previous so our lives not effected negatively so much.

  8. He said after he took over, mrt reliability becomes better…everything he said…nevermind what others think, this is the million dollar minister quality…70% song boh?

  9. Are you SERIOUS???????? Data and Reality does not match. Better double check MRT records. CANNOT OWN SELF CHECK OWN SELF. Need independent body to verify records. Just ask any commuter his or her experiences since you took over.Their experiences speak louder than your words. Please do not blame the mainline press for bad publicity.. Their reports in way express the REAL frustration at ground level. Please join us DAILY in taking the train not once in awhile.

  10. Eh..with due respect Mr Khaw, maybe its best you step out of your air-con office n come join me n the rest of commuters taking the Mrt every morning by queuing up in long long queues, not knowing when the next train comes n when its finally does, its always bloody jammed packed!! Even if u get in the packed trains, the journey feels jerky or stops every once a while. Then u will know wat its like taking the Mrt feeling all frustrated n getting to work VERY LATE!!!

    • Bro Faiz, u think Khaw will come join us every morning? There’s a saying in Hokkien… Wait long long!! I just feel there are ministers tat just talk n talk but definitely hve no clues wat is like from the ground level. These Ministers are talking down to all of us from their superior high ‘as a Minister’ level. Used to hear MRT stands for “More Road Tax”, Now? MRT stands for “More Rail Troubles”..

  11. If he says when he take over, the reliability tripled. Does he mean the previous minister is lousy? So if the previous minister is so lousy than why in the first place he was able to be a minister. This prove our so called good system otherwise

  12. None graceful enough to step down. What to do, all want to secure the highly paid job what. So none honest enough to face the truth cause reality bites. Claim need time to resolve, buy time till 2020. Why? Just in case, MRT unreliability and track issues still not resolved before next GE lot? 沒這麼大的頭、拜託別戴這麼大的帽子。

  13. Singapore’s Land Transport Authority, formed in 1995, set itself a mission of producing a world class transport system. 22 years have passed by, have they delivered that as promised?

  14. In performance measurement, much depends in the type of historical data benchmarked against and the targets set; soft targets in Boon’s situation. He likely adopted easy to achieve targets and also used crappy objectives to easily achieve his performance. This guarantees him meeting or overachieving and pays himself a ludicrous compensation. If the head of the corporation is a shite leader, the rest follow.

  15. Bet they have a book on “Thousand and one excuses to use when there are breakdowns”.
    So now he is using the bloody re-signaling as an excuse as not breakdowns….very very lame. Been using for a year now…see how long they be using this.

  16. Cannot swim dont say swimming trunk big. it is irony that he draw millions but cannot perform to justify the salary he is drawing. so take money and do nothing? this is not what we were promised in GE 2015

  17. Khaw boon wan is telling the truth is only the 30% don’t believe. Shame, though there’s a decrease in breakdown the pap created a new word allow ADDITIONAL TRAVEL TIME, to cover the breakdown part, no wonder the dishonorable son chose Kbw whose skin thickness can never be measured for this job

  18. All current Ministers are YES man to LHL.
    They don’t listen to man in the street because they think that they are doing a good job and it getting worse day by day
    The Singapore Spirit is gone after LKY passing

  19. 不知羞恥的傢伙⋯⋯自己每天乘坐地鐵上班吧,自己嚐一嚐自己做的孽的結果。
    Shameless fool. Try taking the MRT to work everyday, enjoy the bloody fruits of your “labour”…

  20. Since u take over…our ppl life have never beeb worse because u ass hole keep on celebrate least break down..n other small achievement.Please la..already so malu ..news througtout Asia..our SMRT like shit..everyday go out ..i must pray 天宫 pls make me reach office in time than break down…scare like shit everyday.

  21. Trying to blurr the public with “selective” statistics…and I think Mr Lui Tuck Yew is a more down to earth person than this cocky guy….ownself praise ownself.

  22. In other country like Korea and Japan the minister will bow and apologize to the affected commuters and people. Here the G not even once they it their fault that thing go wrong but always find excuses and other to blame. This is a result G of putting incompetent head from the start and now asking Lau Jiao to solve the concrete problem.

  23. Hello friends, have we seen any Minister resigning after fiasco over his Ministry? They are there for the money than for the work. Worst still they are just irritants by sprouting stupid nonsense. KBW, LW and JT are all clowns

  24. Train-kilometer simply means train x km moved. So if Khaw BW has simply included in the newer Circle and Downtown lines (more trains and much more km) and excluded the breakdowns caused by ‘new signalling’, of course the train-kilometers between failure that Khaw BW ownself praised ownself will shoot up like a rocket. Now I also understand why SMRT would rather have ‘ delays’ than ‘breakdowns’ as the former can only bolster the train-kilometer number. But that will only be grossly distorting the true picture of the problem.

  25. I think now he is thinking of which ministry to go now.. after the shit that was created… as Singaporean I feel so sad!!! if you know what I meant!!

  26. LHL bring in military peoples into the ministry, sooner or later all ministry will be run by military peoples, this show PAP having trouble looking for capable peoples for next election.

  27. : Moments of Clarity!

    The weather person is the only person that I know that can be wrong 97% of
    the time and still have a job the next day.
    Johnny Carson

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