Hard to reconcile claim that Bukit Panjang LRT was an afterthought
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan referred to the Bukit Panjang Light Rail Transit (LRT) system as an afterthought whose construction was driven primarily by political forces (Bukit Panjang LRT an ‘afterthought built under political pressure’; Sept 13).
According to him, problems with our first LRT system could be attributed to its less-than-ideal construction, which has caused commuters such as himself dizziness during the ride. Its planning and construction history, however, confronts his assertion.
An Urban Redevelopment Authority concept plan, which included an LRT system, was presented a month after the 1991 General Election.
In 1994, the then Communications Minister Mah Bow Tan instructed the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation to study the feasibility of such a system in Bukit Panjang, following a similar study of an LRT system for Beach Road and Nicoll Highway.
Does this qualify as an afterthought? Such a comment implies that Mr Mah erred in approving the LRT system, and trivialises the work and contributions of our railway engineers in the 1990s.
It has also opened a Pandora’s box, by suggesting that the Government had succumbed to pressure and spent hundreds of millions of dollars without serious consideration and robust planning.
What Mr Khaw must do now is to exercise his judgment, pick the right option to salvage the LRT system and take responsibility for the next course of action.
Mr Khaw’s comment about the Bukit panjang lrt has opened a pandora’s box by suggesting the Government had spent large amounts of funds without serious thought and robust planning.