I’m writing this on Sunday evening.
On Saturday morning, I read that replacing the Circle Line ‘s power cables would take 18 months, beginning from January next year.
SMRT said the areas between Dhoby Ghaut and Dakota Stations are more problematic, compared with other parts of the network, as the cables sit in an area that is prone to water seepage from the ground.
SMRT’s executive vice president for trains, Khoo Hean Siang, said there are plans to replace all the cables.
He added: “We want to change out to a higher grade cable that can submerge, (be) more water resistant to make sure … the system will last for 20 to 30 years.” CNA report.
But neither, MediaCorp nor SPH reporters asked:
— “The North-South Line only started giving serious problems last year. It was opened in 1987. Why is the Circle Line giving problems so soon?”
— “Given the newness of the line, first opened in 2009, and with the latest stations connected just last year, how come the electric cables need replacing so fast?”
— “Why were these cables used?”
— ” As the total cost was nearly S$10bn, not peanuts, by any measure, why were these cables chosen?
— “What other problems could possibly happen, given the cables gave problems much earlier than anticpated?”
— What is the cost of replacing the cables?
— Who is bearing the cost of replacing the cables? SMRT? Or the govt? If SMRT, will dividends be affected? Or will fares have to rise?
And neither did they ask these questions on Sunday. and my Secret Squirrels and Morocco Moles in both these constructive, nation-building media organisations, tell me that tonite’s programmes and tomorrow’s editions will not ask these questions.
These are the questions that the media should be asking. I’m sure PAP MPs and Lina Chiam will be asking some of these question in parliament. And I’m sure netizens are already asking these questions. But I’m sure the WP MPs will be silent. Too busy looking at their bank statements to see if the 30 pieces of silver ++ have been paid into their accounts? Taz what my disillusioned Morocco Mole in WP is wondering.
At the very least, S’poreans must be told why the decision to purchase a cable, now known to be sub standard, was made or allowed to be made? Was it an “honest mistake” by someone or an entire organisation, or an organisational failure, or was there corruption?
My very simplistic answer is that in the 1980s when the first lines were being built, one LKY was PM. No-one wanted to explain to him why the trains would not be running on time. The Circle Line was largely built when the PM was one Goh Chok Tong, and his DPM was one Lee Hsien Loong, today’s PM, his chosen successors. Whatever history may say about LKY, the train lines built when he was PM lasted over 20 years, before giving serious problems. Under his chosen successors, the Circle Line didn’t even last fault-free for five years.
Sometimes change is not for the better, even ifthuggish methods of management have been replaced by more civilised, possibly less effective, methods.
And while there is no longer fear in the air the media breathes, the mental “knucklebusters” still remain in the minds of the media.