2/19/2014

SMRT – a pledge by then Transport Minister Yeo Ning Hong

Someone took the trouble to sieve through the old newspaper and came up with a copy of the ST dated 9 Jul 86 with Yeo Ning Hong announcing the opening of the MRT. He said that ‘One thing was certain…Because the Govt will be paying for the construction of the stations and lines, fares on our MRT will be lower than fares in other MRT countries where commuters will have to repay the capital cost and financing of the construction of their systems…He pledged that the private company which will be set up to operate the MRT will not be allowed to profit at the expense of the public. The principle for fare setting was clear. Fares will be kept as low as possible, consistent with collecting enough revenue to meet the running cost of the MRT, replace parts and equipment regularly and provide company shareholders with a reasonable return.’
 

How far have the govt and the SMRT deviated from this original pledge with their new formula for fare increases? The cost of building the MRT was borne by public fund, not from the shareholders. The principles of lower fares, enough to repay capital cost and financing of construction should be fairly clear. The part about replacement of cost for parts and equipment is also not difficult to understand. Only the last part, provide company shareholders with a reasonable return can be subject to different interpretations. What is reasonable? From whose perspective?
 

What is interesting to note is that the current formula to adjust fare hikes which is directly linked to returns to shareholders does not include parts and equipment replacement cost and financing cost. The formula has been changing over the years with no reference to the original position and pledge.
 

Is the pledge another nice to have aspiration not meant to mean anything? What were the factors in the latest formula? The 2012 formula which was also used for the 2014 fare hike includes the consumer price index, wage index and productivity gains. There was no direct reference to replacement cost of parts and equipment or profits for shareholders.
 

Obviously the 1986 pledge was not in the radar of the Fare Review Mechanism Committee. The 1986 pledge and the principle of lower fares were no longer factors for consideration. Forgotten, not important any more, dumped into the waste bin?
 

Does it matter if the pledge by the former Transport Minister and the original principle are disregarded and ignored or discarded? Or they are actually following closely to those principles pledged by a past minister?

Kopi level - Yellow

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

How trustworthy are promises made by a PAP government?

PAP government promises ... guarantee for how many years ah?

When the PAP government does a 180 degree U-turn on its policies, can we trust them to tell us?

Just like we have consumer watchdogs to protect consumers from untrustworthy sellers.
We must also have politician watchdogs to protect us untrustworthy government.
The tried and tested method for protecting citizens from rougue governments is to vote in more Opposition.

Anonymous said...

RB, when the minister is gone whatever he said not valid lar. Is like capitaland ex boss said they will not build pigeon condo but after he gone, they launched pigeon hole.

I used to work for MNC before my forced retirement kena replaced by FT, also same lar. Everytime new boss, it's new in everything lor

Anonymous said...

/// I used to work for MNC before my forced retirement kena replaced by FT, also same lar. Everytime new boss, it's new in everything lor ///

We are not talking about MNC policy.
We are talking about the continuity of PAP government policy.

Also, if the PAP government wants to change its policy, isn't it the decent and correct thing to do;
To be honest and tell the Singaporean citizens?

If do nothing wrong, then why so shy and scared?

Anonymous said...

They have the strong 60% mandate to ignore or not, make it valid or not, make it matter or not, or whatever lah.

So please be ready to win the mandate lah, if you want your way and not the PAP way.

Because there is no other way, least of all the kpkb way.

Anonymous said...

If the strongest opposition party is not ready, then who is ready, you tell me lah?

Anonymous said...

/// They have the strong 60% mandate to ignore or not, make it valid or not, make it matter or not, or whatever lah. ///

This is not a question of 60% mandate.
This is a question of honesty, transparency and accountability of a government to the citizens over its policies.

Are you saying PAP government got 60% mandate;
- so no need to be honest?
- no need to be transparent?
- no need to be accountable?

Are you accusing the PAP government of lacking in honesty, transparency and accountability because it has a 60% mandate?

Anonymous said...

"Are you accusing the PAP government of lacking in honesty, transparency and accountability because it has a 60% mandate?"
Anon 10:00 am

I did not accuse them of being so but they can be so because of the mandate.

Even if WP want to be so or not so, they cannot because they don't have the mandate.

Get it?

Anonymous said...

/// I did not accuse them of being so but they can be so because of the mandate. ///

Nonsense.
Unless you are a Nazi sympathizer.
Hitler had more than 60% mandate.
Does that mean Hitler can suka, suka kill 6 million Jews?

Anonymous said...

You can easily become a womaniser because you are a male and have lots of money.

But that doesn't mean you are a womaniser because you are a male and have lots of money.

Get it?

Anonymous said...

They are fabricating 'evidence' to accuse North Korea of the same genocide against the Jews like what Hitler did.

You only have some monkeys to believe it. Remember Cheoenan?

Anonymous said...

The moral of the story - Don't Trust Politicians. They always paint you a rosy picture, mkae you feel high then scew you later.

Anonymous said...

/// The moral of the story - Don't Trust Politicians. ///

PAP Ministers are politicians.
So are you saying don't trust PAP Ministers?

Anonymous said...

Aiyah! The only way to ensure honesty, accountability and transparency is to have a strong Opposition party in parliament. To double confirm all the "koyok" that the PAP is selling to us.

60% mandate so what?
Are you saying that it gives you the right to lock people up for 30 years without trial?

Matilah_Singapura said...

SMRT has to be punished. In the free market, customers can punish errant enterprises by withdrawing their patronage. Sadly, can't do this effectively with SMRT.

So I propose: 1. de-list from stock exchange.
2. Break up the business into taxi, buses and trains all as separate entities.

3. Sell the train business (MRT) to Hong Kong's MTR Corporation -- who do an excellent job running the trains there. They also have an international track record.

4. The remaining taxi and bus businesses can run on their own, or be bought up in the free market by anyone -- i.e. private individual or corporation

I am all for replacing local fuckwit individuals and businesses with foreigners and foreign ownership, if the local owners and managers are so fucked-up they can't run the enterprises properly and the public has to suffer.

Nothing like a good dose of free-wheeling capitalism to wake everyone's idea up.

Matilah_Singapura said...

P.S. The Ministry of Transport has demonstrated quite clearly that government run entities are fucked up because they have no open market competition.

SMRT fucks up, minister still has a job, SMRT remains in business. In the private sector, if you're responsible and fuck up, you get fired, and the business takes a solid financial whack -- sometimes one they cannot recover from, and so some smart folks can buy up the "distressed business" for pennies on the dollar.

Does SMRT have the balls to test itself in the unswerving and BRUTAL competition of the free market?

Just like the uncompetitive PMETs bemoaning the reality that the world in fact does not owe them a living, I very much doubt it.

Anonymous said...

When Yeo Ning Hong said reasonable returns for shareholders, he did not foresee Temasek having to milk local companies to make up for the losses in their long term investments in those overseas financial companies.

The long term investments are long gone and the old fart who said they were long term forgot one important investing maxim - In the long term, we will all be dead - and is still hanging around for the short term.

Anonymous said...

If the strongest opposition party is not ready, then who is ready, you tell me lah?
February 19, 2014 9:36 am

Contrary to your assertion, the SDP appears quite ready to govern. They even have academic heavyweights - if you think such pple are needed for the job - in the party.

It's just a matter of getting seats now, after the superslime job done on Chee by the govt. No doubt because they saw his potential.

Look at what they're doing now to the WP, for daring to win an entire GRC.

The WP too seems to be managing, and if it gets voted in, it too would be able to do a decent job.

Whoever it is, what is essential is A PROPER AND COMPLETE HANDOVER BY THE CURRENT RULING PARTY.

If both WP and SDP collaborated, things should be even better.

The bottom line is: Do Singapore commuters want to get on their trains, or keep on riding the PAP's with its many breakdowns?

Anonymous said...

It is better to have two trains to choose from.
Rather than just depend on the PAP train.
PAP trains drivers are getting overpaid, complacent and with a sense of entitlement mentality.
Just look at Grace Fu's sense of entitlement speech:

"When I made the decision to join politics in 2006, pay was not a key factor. Loss of privacy, public scrutiny on myself and my family and loss of personal time were. The disruption to my career was also an important consideration. I had some ground to believe that my family would not suffer a drastic change in the standard of living even though I experienced a drop in my income. So it is with this recent pay cut. If the balance is tilted further in the future, it will make it harder for any one considering political office."

Anonymous said...

RB

I think every intentions or cause started is of good intentions, the Industrial Jurong panicle of Toh Cihn Chye, the SMRT and NKF to name a few, it's what transpire later that has provoke the changes is seriously worrisome, as the pot of gold grows bigger, and looking at it everyday, greed and thinking of oneself become ever more prominent, the raw intentions then will be soon forgotten.

Workers Party's chivalry can and should be noted, not only are they not using the funds from their TC, they are using their own money or source, they should be applauded to have the intentions to clear their name and doing it in style, and it dun cost the tax's payer a cent...two thumbs up for them....

Now the question is, should be have more of them in, people that understand not to use the sweat and blood money of the people or should we still be ignorant.

Kaki

Anonymous said...

/// Workers Party's chivalry can and should be noted, not only are they not using the funds from their TC, they are using their own money or source ///

What about NEA?
Who is going to pay for their legal costs?
Where is the money going to come from?

b said...

All along people knows LKY is a traitor but still voted for him believing that there is no one better than him. Such blind faith from the sinkies is hard to match.

b said...

The best way is to build a country wide bicycle lane so people have another choice (step, skateboard, bikes, 4x4 bikes etc) and no need to depend on public transport that is just out to make a kill. Perhaps we can have our own tour de sg.

b said...

Bike lane is easy and cheap to build.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

We upgraded from walking to cycling, then to car ownership. Today we have been conditioned to take public transport and now unconsciously have been programmed to think of bicycles as the right thing to do.

We were laughing at the Chinese for being so poor that the whole cities were turned into a bicycle park. Now they are upgrading to own cars and we are going the other way, can only afford to own bicycles.

Anonymous said...

It was just her ways of boasting her ego by showing how capable she is that even money cannot match up to her calibre.
What she fails to understand is that even without the PAP Cabinet, Singaporeans will live and prosper, maybe live better with them (Pappies).

Anonymous said...

maybe live better without them (Pappies).
Apologies.