Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam wrote a Facebook post on Wednesday (15 November) to support his fellow cabinet member, Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan over the train collision at Joo Koon MRT station and said that he is confident Minister Khaw will sort things out.
Due to the incident on Wednesday morning, 29 people were sent to Ng Teng Fong Hospital and the National University Hospital for their injuries.
On his Facebook post, Mr Shanmugam wrote that the recent MRT related issues have sorely tested the public mood and the collision adds to that.
He then stated that people naturally ask why these problems are recurring.
“They are fed up, despite the overall improvement in transport. When trains get delayed, people feel it acutely, and the overall measurements of disruption free periods mean less to them,” the Law Minister wrote.
Then he stressed that he is that confident Minister Khaw will sort things out.
“He went into MOT in October 2015. Since then there have been significant improvements, building on the good work of his predecessor, Min Lui Tuck Yew,” Mr Shanmugam stressed.
“Of especial note, Min Khaw has moved to strengthen the engineering teams,” he added.
However, he noted that from a public perspective, all that hard work, good work, has been affected by the recent serious incidents.
Mr Shanmugam then recalled that in 2011, Min Khaw volunteered to go to MND, to deal with the housing issues.
“I remember him telling me : ‘Housing is the Government’s signature success. And how can we let that drift.’ So he asked to go to MND, and within 4 years, got the job done,” he wrote.
And in 2015, Mr Khaw was said by Mr Shanmugam to be asked if he could go to MOT.
“I remember him saying to us, his colleagues: ‘In 2011, I volunteered to go to MND. Now I am not volunteering. But I will go where I am needed.’,” he recalled.
Mr Shanmugam then wrote that it has been a tough 2 years for Boon Wan.
“But I have every confidence that he will deal with the challenges,” he stressed.
The Minister then stated that Mr Khaw has set a new target for an MKBF (Mean Kilometres Between Failure) of 1,000,000 train-km by 2020.
“Very ambitious. But I believe he will be able to achieve it,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Mr Shanmugam wrote, “that all our prayers and thoughts are with the 29 people who had been injured in the collision of trains.”
Editor’s note – Mr K Shanmugam’s optimism about Mr Khaw’s target MKBF is questionable. Given that it has been proven that SMRT and LRT do not seem to record delays experienced by commuters, how would the MKBF be a valid benchmark for service quality?