Khaw Admits that PAP-Led Government can Make Bad Decisions to Score Political Points

Has Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan openly admitted that the PAP-led government is prone to making bad decisions in order to score political points?

It can’t be right, because the PAP had always hailed itself as above populist policies, and slammed the opposition for playing to the audience.

You know, like this new PAP MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh Chee Hong Tat in his maiden election:

Or how Vivian Balakrishnan accused the Singapore Democrats of being more interested more in the “glamour” of politics than serving residents during GE2015?

Or how our own PM said back in 2014 that “Politics purely for the sake of power, without any notion of what we want Singapore to become, will lead us to disaster”?

But that appears to be the case, after Mr Khaw described the Bukit Panjang LRT system at a train ceremony yesterday as an “afterthought” that was built under political pressure, resulting in a design that makes rides almost unbearable.

Mr Khaw, who is also the Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure, is now tasked with unenviable task of cleaning up the mess in Bukit Panjang.

Mr Khaw said that on the few occasions he rode the Bukit Panjang LRT, he didn’t enjoy the ride.

“No LRT is designed that way, in such a masochistic manner, where you force yourself up and down, twist and turn…  It caused me dizziness … but that’s life.”

To give you a quick glimpse into just how much of a flop the Bukit Panjang LRT line is since it’s launch in 1999, here’s a report from the Straits Times:

“Between 1999 and 2003, the service broke down about 50 times. One breakdown even lasted for five days. The system suffered from power failure, problems with the trains’ brakes and problems with the train system’s design and maintenance, including poor supervision. By 2012, it had suffered about 150 breakdowns. Commuters who use the line currently complain that service is inconsistent and that trains are overcrowded.”

The situation has gotten so bad that the government will need to spend millions of dollars to overhaul it.

So why was the BPLRT built?

The government had promised Bukit Panjang residents it would explore alternative means to meet their needs and so construction on the BPLRT began in 1996.

It was opened in 1999 by then Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan, who went on the become president.

At the time:
– Lee Hsien Loong was Prime Minister,
– “Money” Mah Bow Tan was Transport Minister (1990 t0 1999)
-Lim Hng Kiang was National Development Minister (1995 to 1999)
-“Money Mah” replaced Lim as MND chief in 1999


The problem is, the development of the BPLRT led to SMRT getting rid of buses serving the estate which duplicated the BPLRT route (so much for “alternative means” when the alternative gets removed).

Several petitions were presented by the residents of Bukit Panjang protesting the decision, saying buses were more efficient.

Perhaps the PAP-led government lacked its much-vaunted “foresight” and didn’t plan on a population boom.

So, Mr Khaw is now saying that our leaders of the day spent S$285 million to build the 7.8km 14-station-long BPLRT because of “political pressure”, resulting in a design that makes for uncomfortable rides?

He was being kind by not bringing up the breakdowns.

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