Critical services should not take public-private partnership route

Hyflux Innovation Centre at 80 Bendemeer Road, on Feb 16, 2019.
Hyflux Innovation Centre at 80 Bendemeer Road, on Feb 16, 2019.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Despite Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli's assurance that national water agency PUB has been monitoring Hyflux's other facilities, I think many Singaporeans remain highly sceptical of public-private projects after Hyflux's failures (PUB monitoring Hyflux's other plants and will step in if they default, March 8).

Is there a good example of a public-private partnership to show that it has worked well in the Singapore context?

Many will be reminded of our Sports Hub, which has become famous not for its sporting activities, but its frequent resignations and change of chief executives.

It appears that such partnerships in Singapore have shown that a private enterprise is not capable of operating essential national projects, given its priorities lie in maximising profits and shareholders' interests.

I believe many Singaporeans would prefer a better sense of stability and security when it comes to the running of essential services such as our public transport system or water supply.

The Government should learn from such projects and regain control of operations which have failed, to ensure public confidence is not affected.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2019, with the headline 'Critical services should not take public-private partnership route'. Print Edition | Subscribe