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Speech by Minister Khaw Boon Wan during Visit to Power Supply System Renewal Works at North-South Line Bukit Batok Station

02 Jan 2020 Speeches

Colleagues and friends,


1.     Happy new year to all.

2.     Yesterday, I was at Jurong East Station with SMRT Chairman, Mr Seah Moon Ming, to share the first few hours of 2020 with our SMRT colleagues.

3.     Our job in the transport family is to help Singaporeans move from point A to B, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We must do this well: their journeys should be safe, convenient, hassle-free, reliable, punctual and affordable.

4.     Technology helps us to achieve this goal. But at the end of the day, it is the people which count the most: that means all of you in the transport sector.

5.     2019 was a very good year for the One Transport family:
a.     Commuters told us so, through regular Customer Satisfaction Surveys.
b.     Objective data on Mean Kilometres Between Failure confirm that we are on the right track.

6.     Thank you all for your dedication and personal sacrifices to get us to where we are today.

Rail Reliability is a Continuous Commitment

7.     Remember: this is a continuous commitment. Today’s reliability does not guarantee tomorrow’s.

8.     We have to stay vigilant and diligent all the time, but it need not be a stressful work environment. If we look out for one another, stay united and support each other as one family, we can achieve our goal without getting burnt-out.

9.     The key is for all parties to remain transparent, sharing information as One Team – especially when things do not go so well. LTA will continue to maintain good oversight and steer the development of the MRT system, as the backbone of our public transport system, an important public good which Singaporeans from all walks of society can enjoy.

10.    People, the right organisational culture, as well as the right leadership focus – including a strong corporate culture for senior management to walk the ground – has helped us turn the corner. It will continue to be key, into the future.

11.    The Government will continue to support you, through substantial subsidies for our commuters and timely replacement of ageing assets. Together with the rail operators and union, our $100 million Rail Manpower Development Package will help accelerate workforce transformation over the next five years. This will prepare you for the challenges of the future and help you better serve Singaporeans.

Progress of North-South and East-West Line Renewal

12.    Meanwhile, we press on with the renewal of the North-South and East-West Lines. This is a multi-year effort costing over $2.5 billion. Out of six asset groups to be renewed, we have completed three: the sleepers, third rail and signalling system. Three more to go: the power supply, track circuits, and first-generation trains.

13.    The power supply renewal is the most complex of the three remaining projects; it is about 40% done. The renewal of track circuits is progressing smoothly, with about 25% done. Meanwhile, the new trains are being manufactured, and commuters can look forward to new trains being deployed from next year.

14.    Meanwhile, our overall MRT network continues to expand. Government spending on new MRT lines will peak during the next two terms of government, as LTA works to deliver many concurrent projects such as the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), Jurong Region Line, Circle Line extension and Cross Island Line.

15.    In fact, this month, TEL Stage 1 will commence service. In the coming weeks, I will review the progress of TEL Stage 2 and share more details.

16.    Overall, it has been a good 2019 for land transport. I am sure 2020 will be even better!

17.    Thank you.