Khaw Boon Wan: No evidence of shortcomings or lapses in regulatory oversight by MOT and LTA

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan stated in a written reply that there is no evidence of shortcomings or lapses in regulatory oversight by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and Land Transport Authority (LTA) in the MRT flooding incident.

This is in response to questions filed by Workers’ Party Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera who asked the Minister for Transport in light of staff bonuses of the MRT operator’s maintenance team being affected by the recent episode of MRT tunnel flooding, whether this episode will also affect the compensation paid to senior staff in the Ministry and LTA who have been tasked with oversight of the MRT operator and, if so, how.

This comes after the recent flooding incident on 7 October (Saturday) when train services on the North-South line were affected by flooding in the tunnel from Bishan to Braddell MRT stations.

SMRT had to cut off trackside power supply as a safety precaution, causing service on six stops across the NSL to be disabled for about 20 hours. More than a quarter of a million commuters were affected in the country’s first disruption due to flooding and making it one of SMRT’s worst breakdowns in recent history.

The Minister stressed that the tunnel’s anti-flooding pumps are not high-risk components, when compared to core railway systems. Howeve, he added that the regulator still highlighted the need for regular and diligent maintenance.

According to Mr Khaw, LTA had also asked the operator to provide the regulator a list of pumps that needed to be replaced.

He said the flooding occurred before the remedial action was taken.

“There is no evidence of shortcomings or lapses in regulatory oversight by LTA or MOT staff,” he added.

Mr Perera noted in his Facebook post on 6 November that he had tried to ask a question on the impact of compensation for SMRT senior management but was disallowed due to rules of Parliamentary procedure.