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Going public would have caused undue panic, Khaw explains MOT’s decision on defective SMRT trains

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Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, explained why his Ministry did not go public when defects were found in the train earlier. Speaking to the media for the first time since Hong Kong based investigative news agency Factwire published several reports about defective trains returned to the manufacturer in China by SMRT, Mr Khaw said doing so would have cause undue panic.

In speaking to members of the mainstream media at the Bishan Depot today (12 Jul), the Minister reportedly said that his Ministry deemed that the cracks were not “a major event” to be reported. He suggested that members of the public are not engineers, for whom not all cracks are the same.

Mr Khaw explained that LTA’s decision in not informing the public when the defects were found is understandable, but they can be spun out of control.

“If all cracks are have to be reported when they do not cause any of those safety issues then they have to think about what is the impact on the ground. Looking back I think it’s understandable. We learn as we go along, sometimes even routine matters can be spun out of control as it happened in this case.”

Mr Khaw added: “If all cracks have to be reported, if they do not cause any of those issues on safety, they will have to think about what is the impact on the ground.”

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LTA would have informed the public without delay if it deemed that the defects were a safety issue, the Minister said.

Mr Khaw further said that even if there were no safety concerns, should rectification works require many trains to be taken away, his ministry and LTA will still explain why they will have to reduce capacity of the rail system.

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