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People’s Power Party’s statement on defective trains from China

People’s Power Party (PPP) has issued a press statement on the recent saga surrounding trains that were manufactured by a Chinese supplier and being secretly sent back due to defects found on the carriages.

Below is PPP's press statement in full

People’s Power Party is shocked to read all the various reports that have come in with regards to the 26 defective trains out of 35 trains which SMRT and LTA have purchased from the consortium comprised of Japanese company Kawasaki Heavy Industries Rolling Stock Company and CSR Sifang Locomotive & Rolling Stock Company Ltd.

We demand answers for the following concerns which involved public safety and interest from LTA and SMRT:

1) According to the report by Hong Kong Factwire, SMRT has suspected that the massive breakdown in December 2011 was caused by these new trains delivered from China. That was the reason why progressive payment from SMRT was slowed down and the subcontractors suffered cash flow problem.

It was also said that SMRT has reduce the frequency of the schedule of these new trains from China after that incident in December 2011. We demand a response from SMRT on the validity of this report and if so, why it was not raised in the committee of inquiry which was held to find out the root cause of the breakdown then?

2) LTA has admitted that structural cracks have been found in these new trains since 2013. We demand an explanation from LTA and SMRT why would they continue to order more trains from the consortium in 2014 and subsequently in 2015, amounting to a total of over 100 trains, after they have found an unusually high defective rate of 74% out of the first batch of 35?

3) According to records of court proceeding launched in China with regards to the labour dispute between CSR Sifang in 2013, the former employee has stated in the affidavit that CSR Sifang has deliberately fabricated test data results and reports in 2010. Was SMRT and LTA aware of such accusations? Did SMRT and LTA send their own engineers or independent Quality Control personnel to perform or audit the various tests? Did SMRT and LTA carry out any due diligence on quality checks before these trains were shipped to Singapore?

4) It was also reported that these trains offered by the Kawasaki – Sifang consortium was not of the lowest bid. The lowest bid was offered by a Korean company. The pertinent question is why would SMRT and LTA chose to buy from the Kawasaki Sifang consortium which was more expensive but provided sub-standard quality products? Did SMRT and LTA do any due diligence on their quality test statistics before deciding to buy from this consortium?

5) 74% defective rate is totally unacceptable by any standards. Did SMRT and LTA punish the supplier and consortium by any means? Was there any performance bond submitted by the Consortium in the first place?

6) In view of the fact that there are several doubts and accusation of fabrication of vital quality test results with higher bidding price coupled with poor quality products, PPP urge the Corruption Practice Investigation Bureau to start a thorough investigation into the procurement process as this involved hundreds of million dollars of public money.

7) Concurrently, an independent Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry consisting of opposition MPs and external independent experts should be convened to investigate the SMRT and LTA should be stopped from procuring any trains from this Consortium before the findings of the COI has completed. Ministry of Transport and LTA have opined that the cracks found are not “safety critical”.

However, we find their assertion lacks credibility and we should no longer believe in PAP government’s “ownself check ownself” model of governance. The COI should determine whether there is any negligence or dereliction of duties by the various parties in the procurement process and whether public safety has been compromised by these defective trains.

8) Last but not least, as a public listed company, SMRT should be censured for trying to hide such vital information of the defective trains from the general public. Transparency and accountability are two key important factors in upholding public confidence in a company like SMRT which is providing vital public transportation service.

It is totally unacceptable for institutions like Singapore General Hospital or SMRT which provides critical vital public services to continue to operate in such an opaque and irresponsible manner. We demand accountability from the respective leadership for such mismanagement of public services.