Netizens savagely rip apart Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and SMRT CEO’s apologies


Trasnport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and SMRT’s top brass – SMRT CEO Desmond Quek and SMRT Corporation and SMRT Trains chairman Seah Moon Ming – finally addressed the tunnel flooding incident that caused a massive North-South Line (NSL) breakdown two weeks ago.

In the country’s first train disruption due to flooding, six stations were shut down – affecting a quarter of a million commuters.

The Minister, Quek and Seah apologised to the public in a press conference yesterday evening.

Khaw blamed the flooding on poor maintenance, explaining that the “anti-flooding system there was poorly maintained” and caused rainwater to accumulate.

The Minister, however, asserted that the flood system is sound:

“The Bishan flooding system was designed for one in a hundred years. So our study, which is still ongoing, is ‘Are you sure that is adequate?’ But for the incident that happened on October 7, it is much more than adequate, nothing to do with these extremes of weathers – it is just poor maintenance.”

Khaw also revealed that LTA and SMRT were due to replace the pumps on the system on 29 Sept but delayed making the changes for more than a week, when the flooding hit on 7 Oct.

“So we are late by a few days. Had they proceeded to replace (the pumps) this thing might not even have happened. But I suppose that is life.”


Adding that the “sad and unnecessary” incident has “pushed back the recovery of public confidence” in the MRT system, he apologised:

“We are all sorry it did… Whatever follow-up action which needs to be done, has already started. Nothing has been covered up.”

Desmond Quek, on the other hand, appeared to blame “deep-seated cultural issues” within SMRT for the service disruptions and noted:

“There has been criticism about SMRT’s work culture. Indeed, many of our major disruptions in the past have been attributed, in some part or all, to human error or failure. We regret that this is so.
“Much progress has been made with the inculcation of a positive work culture in the workforce. But there remain some deep-seated cultural issues within the company that has needed more time than anticipated to root out.”

The CEO who has helmed SMRT for the past five years, and took a $500,000 pay cut last year as SMRT service disruptions grew, added:

“We are determined to get there and encouraged by the progress already made. But for the times that we have not been able to catch the falling balls in time, we are sorry for the inconvenience it has caused you and resolve to learn the lessons and do better. Over the past five years, we have made tremendous progress but also some mistakes.
“Regardless whether our issues are viewed by others as inherited, structural or cultural – we make no excuses. I take full responsibility for all that has happened under my watch as the overall Group Chief Executive.”

Seah Moon Ming bowed and apologised to commuters as well:

“SMRT has failed to prevent this incident from happening. SMRT takes full responsibility for this incident.”

Netizens, however, remain unfazed.

Instead of being assuaged, several netizens ripped apart Khaw, Quek and Seah’s apologies:


  1. Wat did they do? They just push the blame to the lower ranks. They didn’t take any responsibilities at all. Flooding or breakdown is not their problem. Come out say a few f@@king words n collect the million dollar salary

    • no matter which head on chopping board the head sure join back in another department in another area just will not die la gov got so many area all cover where will die

  2. The only positive outcome of this is that alas, Minister Khaw and the SMRT CEO and his team finally realized that what happened was unacceptable; inconveniencing commuters and bring the Singapore efficiency machinery into disrepute. Never mind their attempts to divert responsibilities; at least there was an apology, finally.

  3. Our world highest paid resources coming from road tpt system. And …

    Our world highest collection LTA sources for their income.

    And …. does not justify it’s balance.

    That’s the bottomline.

    The Act of God justify all its nature calling (Karma, if you like to put it …) malfunctioning related Natural phenomenon defects.. …

    Just my opinion

  4. Stat. board blame SMRT, SMRT blame “own culture”, or blame back Stat board/Gahmen… or use low tier maintenance / staff (go see their PR posters) to gain sympathy ,stretch tolerance of public against them…. those top management and gahmen really is 1 big KNN

  5. WTF….if u are sincerely apologizing..u should be resigned as it happens under your watch. Don’t tell me about deep-seated cultural issues. Under your watch means under your watch. Don’t go around wearing a skirt and tell people that my pants are not dry yet. Talk is filthy cheap!!!!


  7. no problem where two joker draw million of dollars as pay. I know you trying to put someone on the chopping board to chop but what is the point where head get chop here join back in another area. what I think simple if you want million dollars pay it fine on one condition if there another break down mean you both get fine 50000 every time each. so you want to keep pay than make sure everything in order.

  8. Basically, if eyes were to roll back further, they’ll stay permanently white…

    What to expect from a government who puts army men and money men in charge of education and goodness knows what other irrelevant men in unrelated ministries.


  9. I don’t see any real concerns for the problem. All I see are sour grapes people still barking about the million dollars salaries.

    Maybe the ministers and CEOs salaries are justified because they have face mountains of criticism on how to do their jobs. From people who has no clue how to do it themselves.

    Don’t we all hate such people in the office? Those that complain and criticize others on how to do the job but are not in the capacity to do it.

  10. SMRT Chairman is not good at apologising but looks like Singaporeans are not good at accepting apologies either. They are neither gracious nor forgiving. Frankly, I’m quite disgusted by all the venom here.

  11. This tells you people no need study so high. Learn how to carry balls. Start from grassroot slowly climb up to minister then you are immune to everything. You can choose any poor junior and have him be a scapegoat.

  12. “Over the past five years, we have made tremendous progress but also some mistakes.” hahahaha yes made tremendous progress in screwing up!!! Keep it up guys.. u are making HISTORY!!

  13. “But for the times that we have not been able to catch the falling balls in time, we are sorry”… How to catch falling balls when u spend all yr time carrying balls!!!

  14. Former minister Lui look at him no matter how hard he ve been trying to solve d problem , sleepless night causing him to give up d post.KBW how about u? No sporean saw your contribution time up for u! up….

  15. how many more apologies? its been 5 years, yet still no progress.

    is 5 years not enough to change the culture? all the talk on preventive and predictive maintenance, just that empty talk – nato.

    its rainy season, yet they did NOTHING to ensure the pumps are working! simply lazy.

    how are you taking full responsibility?

  16. The men have apologised , yet….this a savage world . Dare we hope some honest intelligent men and women will still step forth in the future to serve country ?

  17. When those falling balls happen to be khaw’s testicles, you better make sure you catch them and carry his balls properly. Those are expensive though useless penang testicles well polished by pap sycophants.

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