Khaw's criticism of press unwarranted

I find Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan's criticism of the press on its reporting of the recent spate of train disruptions unwarranted (Minister takes aim at press; July 28).

The Land Transport Authority and SMRT might have felt it was their duty to test the new signalling system when the travelling load was at its highest.

Similarly, it is the job of the media to report these MRT disruptions.

This is especially because the disruptions occurred mostly during the morning or evening peak hours, when hundreds of thousands of commuters were either rushing to work, school and other appointments, or making their way home after a tiring day.

Since the Land Transport Authority and SMRT had planned all along to implement the new system "live" during peak hours, they should have done some scenario planning to anticipate the problems and what they would do if anything went wrong.

Commuters generally have been very accommodating about the frequent disruptions and inconveniences.


The media reports in great detail whenever improvement plans for the transport system are on the table. It has also not flinched from reporting MRT breakdowns, commuter frustrations, and the reasons for each breakdown.

To say or even hint that the press has sensationalised the commuter experience is uncalled for. To lampoon responsible journalism with such comments as "thinks it is so easy... like holding a pen and writing a few articles, and get the signalling done. ... We can ask the reporter to run the train system" is unnecessary, unfortunate and untimely.


If there is anyone or any event to blame for all the trouble occurring now, it is SMRT's poor strategy and management in not investing in infrastructure renewal sooner.

Gabriel Cheng Kian Tiong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2017, with the headline 'Khaw's criticism of press unwarranted'. Print Edition | Subscribe