Speaking at a parliamentary session today, Minister of Transport Khaw Boon Wan has issued a strong statement in response to over 15 questions on the recent flooding of the MRT tunnel between Bishan and Braddell stations.

With reference to Desmond Kuek’s handling of SMRT and his statement that SMRT was plagued by “deep-seated cultural issues”, Khaw said: “If there is poor work culture, the CEO is responsible. You set the corporate culture… growing the right culture is the responsibility of everyone.”

Top management from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT, including SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek, were present in the public gallery of parliament.

“As regulator, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will also separately assess SMRT’s findings on the extent of dereliction of duties and falsification of records.

“While investigations by LTA will take a few more weeks to complete, the facts of the incident are not complicated, and the cause of the incident is clear. My ministry will therefore not be convening a Commission of Inquiry.”

Khaw revealed in parliament that 7 managerial staff at SMRT were suspended, including Ng Teck Poo, the former head of the Building and Facilities Maintenance Group. He was replaced in the immediate aftermath of the tunnel flooding by senior mechanical engineer Siu Yow Wee. The remaining 6 were Ng’s predecessor, a chief engineer, a deputy director, and three managers.

A team of experts from Taipei Metro have also been invited to do a “thorough and independent review of operations” to recommend improvements.

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