During GE2015, a major contention point was the state of Singapore’s transport system. PM Lee had even commented on the frequent train breakdowns, saying that “despite [such] incidents, I am confident that we are heading in the right direction, to get the public transport system that Singaporeans deserve.”.
Heck, the former transport Minister had “unexpectedly” stepped down from politics while the transport portfolio was touted to be an undesired seat. Not surprisingly, all eyes were pointing to Khaw for his “fix-it” abilities, especially since he had successfully revamped the red-hot housing market:
How has he fared after a year in the position? We have yet to see any fundamental changes to the transport system; the government contracting model was introduced in 2014 and the sale of rail assets to the government is essentially an extension of the contracting model.
Concurrently, plans such as having new operators such as Tower Transit has not been going well with issues such as manpower shortages and a severe accident that left an elderly man paralysed. Interestingly, despite the promises from the Prime Minister the trains are still showing signs of breaking down with new reasons such as signal faults.
The next GE is very likely to be in 2019/20 and there will be more difficult for the average man to own a car by then given the increase in COE prices and the increase in ride sharing apps would make it less of an incentive for them to do so. Inevitably, the average man would then have to get used to life without a car.
However, it is interesting that Khaw had yet to utter a word despite all these..
So if I had to do some reckoning, I would truly suppose that the electorate will not see the transport system being repaired in time. As blogger Philip Ang says, such breakdowns are common sense when you have more passenger capacity than you can cope with, and when you put a bunch of paper generals with no relevant experience at the helm!
How biting would that be in terms of votes?