Your views: Khaw Boon Wan speaks in Parliament on MRT tunnel flooding incident

Your views: Khaw Boon Wan speaks in Parliament on MRT tunnel flooding incident

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in Parliament on Nov 7.

SINGAPORE: Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Tuesday (Nov 7) delivered his ministerial statement in Parliament about the MRT tunnel flooding incident which occurred along the North-South Line last month. 

Mr Khaw had said SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek "has been working very hard to try to change work culture", and stressed that Mr Kuek had volunteered for the job.

"He wasn’t parachuted in or being asked to go and fix this. He volunteered for this job. As former Chief of Defence Force, I think his heart is in the right place," Mr Khaw said.

The Transport Minister added that SMRT has invited a team of experts from Taipei Metro to conduct a review and recommend improvements. 

Mr Khaw also disagreed with Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang's view that “the mission of SMRT is to make money for the Government”.

“There are easier ways to make money. We don’t have to use SMRT to make money,” he said. 

Here's what our readers on Facebook are saying about the matter: 

Need someone with both heart and experience in the right place: Low Ngee Kiat

"Heart in the right place, experience in the wrong place also useless! Find someone with heart and experiences in the right places please!" 

Unhelpful to say accidents are preventable: Ronald Leng

"To say that accidents are due to human failing (and preventable) is not so much untrue as unimaginably unhelpful. The output from an accident investigation does reveal much more about the culture of the company where it occurred. If it has a blame culture, people are defensive and not very forthcoming (worst blame the workmen).

It is better to say that an accident (due to poor maintenance by long service technical people) can be prevented by better design, better instructions, etc, than to say it was caused by bad design, poor or inadequate instructions, bad management or weak CEO etc.

Clearly 'cause assignment' implies blame game and people become defensive. Every one does not like to admit that the job was done badly, but are willing to admit that we could do it better. That is called 'making the process or task foolproof'."

More concerning are cost-cutting measures to maximise profits: Dong Dong Dong Dong

"The point about profit isn't really the main concern. SMRT has to ensure that its income covers costs. What is more concerning is the cost-cutting measures to maximise profits and it shows. Trains are breaking down, the bloody signs give the wrong information. Where is the inquiry on all these? All just busy covering each other's backside ... Ownself check ownself. This just proves that we clearly need more opposition voice."

There should be more regular audits: William Goh

"From the immediate actions that have taken place, I am not convinced that the staff falsified the records. If so, there should be more regular audits to ensure that works are indeed done according to SOP. 

From quarterly maintenance to monthly, it shows inadequacy of (the) current maintenance programme, not staff negligence?

If (the) pumps at Lavender are also in (a) bad state, then it shows that it’s more than the flaws of the Bishan maintenance team, unless the same team also handles the Lavender pumps.

I am still wondering why the staff wouldn’t carry out the works according to checklist or SOP. Is it a one liner work up to the technician’s judgement? If it was a comprehensive list of task, surely the technician would have completed it?"

Why aren't Government services expected to match SAF's standards?: Mark Roche 

"I wonder why Government services aren't expected to match the same standards and appraisals as the Singapore Armed Forces - which is Combat readiness (*in this case security, safety and emergency), operational proficiency and administrative excellence. After all, the top generals are in charge of almost everything, and this system is definitely nothing unknown to them as they probably created it.

Especially since such a thing has happened before. In 2009, three regulars from the 24th Battalion Singapore Artillery were convicted of falsifying their unit's test scores. Soldiers' results for the standard obstacle were doctored. As a result, the unit was disqualified that year and the trio were convicted and fined by the General Court Martial."

Should not disregard efforts of train workers: Melissa Teo

"Time to right the wrong. From maintenance crew to top executives, get things right and we cannot afford to spend precious time on this. Majority of the train workers are working tirelessly to ensure proper trains works, we shouldn't disregard their efforts."

Who should decide whether a COI should be convened?: Carmen Tan

"Who gets to decide whether a COI should be held? Surely it should be by a group independent of the Ministry of Transport."

This was a deliberate attempt to not fulfil job responsibilities: Thomas Wong

"Issue lies with lax maintenance. This was a deliberate attempt to not fulfil job responsibilities seriously. Such attempts sabotage efforts by others who do their best to keep the trains moving smoothly. Good that we right the wrong, and look to further strengthen the maintenance regime."

No one person has the influence to mould culture: Yanrong Tan

"I hardly comment on things like that but this infuriates me so much. CULTURE, as the word itself implies, is a product of the collective. No one person has so much influence to mould culture. Besides, culture stems from historical processes - are you saying that the CEO appointed as recent as 2012 can be fully responsible for the accumulative problems from the start?

Should I then say that the problems deep-rooted in Singapore society are solely a product of the doings of the government? Will you take the blame for all the cultural problems in our society?"

What about MOT?: Melvin Lim

"I think this is wrong. For several reasons...

1. By pointing the gun squarely at Kuek, he is going to turn him (Kuek) into a lightning rod for all the online trolls.

2. By not giving Kuek the opportunity to 'voluntarily' assume responsibility, you are losing a great opportunity to embark on a service recovery exercise. All that will happen is that Kuek will get pissed at being on the butt-end of online hate, that he will just quit and there will be a hole in SMRT and whomever is appointed, will have to play catch up.

3. Why has there been no hint of MOT taking any of the blame? Mind you, it may not be his fault, but at the same time, it is his watch. All that is achieved by presenting this 'hard' face is that people hate Khaw Boon Wan even more than before cos he is seen to be shirking his responsibility. In reality, that isn't the case, but it is all about perception dude!" 

Intention to privatise SMRT has failed: Lee Lai Lai Amy

"It seems that the intention to privatise SMRT has failed. As what Khaw Boon Wan said to privatise SMRT is to make SMRT efficient and cost effective was not wrong and many countries have used this concept to lessen red tape but this concept does not seem to work well. When money and profits (are) involved, you can’t help but to cut costs and to increase profits. Service and cutting costs just won’t work together well."

Better quality pumps = higher reliability: Ys Koo

"Procurement had procured lousy quality of pumps! Good quality pumps require less maintenance (and therefore) high reliability! This is the problem (which) eventually (lead) to breakdowns!"

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Source: CNA/dl