Dr Daniel Goh, Nominated Member of Parliament from Workers’ Party voiced his displeasure towards the revelation that a lift manufacturer Sigma had been barred from tendering for new HDB projects since October 2015 for being unable to fully adhere to the timeline of lift installations for certain projects.
He said that his first reaction was, “Heng ah, the lifts in my block still the old blue-box windowless kind, not upgraded to Sigma.”
Dr Goh got puzzled as the headline suggests that the ban is a recent thing. To his surprise, the article says that the ban of the lift company was in place since October 2015.
He said that a couple of questions came across his mind.
The first is why did The Straits Times report it in such present tenses and tones like it happened yesterday (13 January).
“So ST did some digging and found that Sigma was responsible for a lot of the breakdowns, good for ST! But why portray HDB in the present active tense in this case? A bit post-truth don’t you think?” he asked.
He then said that the funny thing is that if this was reported earlier as the breakdowns got ugly last year, in June 2016, then HDB would have been seen to be on the ball, on the case on the lift problems.
“This is a matter of public interest, why only reveal the Sigma ban now when ST discovered the issue? Why not reassure the public then?” he asked again.
Dr Goh also noted that Mr Low Thia Khiang had raised this issue in Parliament in April 2016 (see his note here).
He asked, “When Senior Minister of State Desmond Lee and Minister Lawrence Wong replied him, why did they not reveal that HDB has been proactively monitoring lift breakdowns and performance and had moved against Sigma?”
“And back to Puzzle 1, why did ST stop the investigative journalism there at HDB’s replies to their queries and not go further and ask about Puzzles 2 and 3? What’s happening?” he added.