Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has defended the decision to hide the issue of cracked trains from the public.
He said that that going public for something that was “not a major event” might have caused unnecessary panic to the layman.
Mr Khaw added that to engineers, not all cracks are the same, and that the Land Transport Authority would have gone public if there were safety and capacity issues at play.
“If all cracks are have to be reported when they do not cause any of those safety issues then they have to think about what is the impact on the ground. Looking back I think it’s understandable. We learn as we go along, sometimes even routine matters can be spun out of control as it happened in this case.”
Mr Khaw said that even if there weren’t any safety concerns, the trains would still need to be taken away for rectification.
“So if the rectification requires us to take away too many trains … I’m quite sure MOT together with LTA would have also decided even though it’s not a safety issue, because it will affect availability of trains, I’m sure they will go public and explain why, we will now have to slow down on our program of increasing the capacity.”
Mr Khaw was referring to the 26 defective MRT trains that were stealthily shipped back to China in June this year so that CSR Qingdao Sifang, the train builder, could carry out repair works.
Repairs are expected to take till 2019.