Hard to rec­on­cile claim that Bukit Pan­jang LRT was an af­ter­thought

Today - - VOICES - From don ho jia hao

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.

To­daY File Photo

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.

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