Speech by Mr. Henry Kwek (Nee Soon GRC)
Debate on Land Transport Amendment Bill
1. Mr Deputy Speaker,
2. The amendments in LTA Bill, as it will strengthen the governance surround investments and maintenance of our rail network. Therefore, I rise in support of the motion.
3. Before I start, on behalf of my residents who uses the North South line, I would like to thank MOT, our MRT workers, as well as those involved with the NS line upgrade for their countless hours of hard work. After the completion of the re-signalling project, the reliability of the line has improved. Thank you.
4. I would like to raise three points today.
5. Firstly, can LTA share how we determine on the life-span of the key assets and system? If we draw upon the lessons over the last decade or so, the key issue is to ensure timely upgrades, as well as preventive maintenance.
a. Did LTA determine this through international benchmarks? Or through LTA’s internal assessment working with engineering consultancy companies?
b. If LTA relies on international benchmarks, can LTA share which country and system did we use for? And have we then localise these benchmarks factoring the Singapore-specific conditions such as high heat and humidity?
6. Secondly, I would like to request that LTA communicate to our people the true cost of the MRT system per trip.
a. In the long-run, our spending depends on our citizen’s need and expectation. So our citizens need to know the true cost of service provision, even though we continue to ensure that fares, after subsidies, remain affordable to the broad public.
b. For example, in our medical bills, we reflect the true cost, and then we apply the subsidies, before arriving at the amount that our Singaporeans have to pay. That is a good approach to keeping our citizens informed.
c. As such, from time to time, through various channels including on the MRT stations and trains, we should communicate to people the true cost of our MRT networks per trip. This cost could include components such as infrastructure investment cost, and total operating cost.
d. This is important information for our citizens, and I suspect, will shape the discussions in our chambers over time.
7. My third point is a technical one. In Clause 6 (a), can I check how LTA will ensure that the expenses are charged accurately to the “Railway Sinking Fund” and/or “Rail Infrastructure Fund” since “demolition and replacement” expenses could be for both Funds?
a. I assuming the Sinking Fund is for existing lines, and the Infrastructure Fund is for new lines.
b. Demolition and replacement expenses of any rail line is likely to be a major expenditure.
c. When will LTA put these charges under Sinking Fund, and Infrastructure Fund?
8. Notwithstanding my queries, I support the amendment bill.
9. Thank you.