Parliamentary Questions: COI on MRT service disruptions

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Committee of Inquiry on the MRT service disruptions will be investigating the regulatory structure and processes that are currently in place to ensure that MRT operators maintain high maintenance and safety standards; and (b) whether the Committee will be tasked to look into not just the recent major disruptions on the North-South line but also service disruptions on all MRT lines in the last two years.

My Parliamentary question answered on 16 January 2012:

Note: I had filed this question a week before the Minister’s statement to Parliament on 9 January 2012.

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Committee of Inquiry on the MRT service disruptions will be investigating the regulatory structure and processes that are currently in place to ensure that MRT operators maintain high maintenance and safety standards; and (b) whether the Committee will be tasked to look into not just the recent major disruptions on the North-South line but also service disruptions on all MRT lines in the last two years.

Mr Lui Tuck Yew:

I had explained the Committee of Inquiry’s (COI) Terms of Reference at length in my statement to this House last week. To reiterate, the COI will establish the technical, systemic and other causes that may have contributed to the disruptions, and make recommendations to minimize a recurrence of the incidents of 15 and 17 December based on their findings. This would include assessing whether the current regulatory regime is sufficiently robust.

As I had also mentioned, convening a Committee of Inquiry is a serious matter. The extent and severity of the service disruptions on 15 and 17 December, and the potential safety risks that they posed are what warrant an independent inquiry into the causes of the disruptions. Nonetheless, if there are previous incidents or events that may be relevant or had contributed to the events of 15 and 17 December, the COI has both the latitude and the obligation to consider them. It is not intended that the COI look at the smaller unrelated events as that would only dilute its focus.

I hope that this sufficiently addresses the Member’s concerns.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.