Home News Inundated tracks reveal cracks in our transport system

Inundated tracks reveal cracks in our transport system




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By Kumaran Pillai

Trains were disrupted for the umpteenth time this year, this time, for rain waters flooding the train tracks between Ang Mo Kio and Newton, disrupting rail services for a good part yesterday (7th Oct) and this morning (8th Oct).

Various images of trains submerged in flooded tunnels were put up by Gilbert Goh on his Facebook page. If these images are true and un-doctored, then this government has a lot to answer given that the chief executive of SMRT, an ex- Lieutenant-General, Singapore Armed Forces, Mr Desmond Kuek Bak Chye made a cool S$1.87M in 2016 and S$2.3M in wages in 2015. That’s slightly more than sixteen times of what an average Singaporean household makes in a year.

Kuek is paid so much to provide a mediocre service, it begs the question of what is meritocracy for the ruling party and why we still have this man as the head honcho of SMRT? What are his qualifications? Why ex-military personnel with no experience running a train network is running SMRT? Did the government or SMRT put up a job advertisement inviting potential candidates to apply for this position? Was there a lapse in the hiring process? Is the transport minister culpable of a lapse in fiduciary duty?

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All attempts to do damage control of the growing dissatisfaction has fallen flat on their face with this recent incident.


“I have never been overconcerned or obsessed with opinion polls or popularity polls. I think a leader who is, is a weak leader. If you are concerned with whether your rating will go up or down, then you are not a leader. You are just catching the wind … you will go where the wind is blowing. And that’s not what I am in this for.” Lee Kuan Yew

I’ll go as far as calling for an independent panel to investigate on the current breakdowns and how these contracts were awarded. Minister Chan Chun Sing spoke about predictive maintenance, that they will have systems in place to foretell or predict the breakdowns. What the heck is predictive maintenance? I’d say, get the basics right before you embark on more ambitious projects.

It seems like they are just whitewashing their failure and this sordid state of affairs. Has he has failed to realise that there is no panacea for incompetency?

Lee Kuan Yew said during his 1984 National Day rally speech:

“Everything works, whether its water, electricity, gas, telephone, telexes, it just has to work. If it doesn’t work, I want to know why, and if I am not satisfied, and I often was not, the chief goes, and I have to find another chief. Firing the chief is very simple.”


Never mind what Minster Chan said, as this doesn’t fall under his purview. Where is Minister Khaw Boon Wan on this issue? He definitely has a lot of explaining to do and the last thing we want to hear is that our newspapers have gone tabloid or that this “ponding” only occurs once in fifty years.

Perhaps the heavens have conspired against the elite and the Chinese philosopher Mencius would have said that it is a sign that the rulers no longer have the mandate of heaven.


Let’s not take this matter lightly – there was also an electrical outage/fire as a result of the floods – as an individual you can petition to the parliament by writing to the Speaker Mr Tan Chuan Jin or write to your MP on the recent breakdowns and call for a commission of inquiry.

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg 

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