Parliament to discuss sea collision, LRT issue

Repair work being carried out on the Bukit Panjang LRT tracks.
Repair work being carried out on the Bukit Panjang LRT tracks. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The collision of an oil tanker and a US warship in Singapore waters last month, and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan's recent remarks on the Bukit Panjang LRT being built due to "political pressure" have drawn questions from MPs for next week's Parliament sitting.

The battle against terror will also be on the agenda. A new Infrastructure Protection Bill to toughen security at buildings deemed potential targets will be debated, while a multiracial group of four PAP MPs will initiate a debate on the importance of staying united against terror.

Question time on Monday will kick off with two MPs asking about Singapore's plans following the collision at sea which claimed the lives of 10 American soldiers on board the USS John S. McCain.

Mr Vikram Nair (Sembawang GRC) wants an assessment of Singapore's maritime surveillance capabilities. Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC) asks if reviews will be carried out on Singapore's Vessel Traffic Information System, which is used to communicate with vessels and monitor shipping traffic.

Both are also concerned about terrorists attacking by sea, and hope to find out more on what can be done.

The Bukit Panjang LRT, which opened in 1999 and suffered a six-hour disruption earlier this month, will also get an airing. Mr Khaw had called it an "afterthought" in a built-up town, constructed due to "political pressure". Workers' Party's Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) will ask about the political pressures the Government faced when it decided to build it. Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) wants to know about plans to improve the Bukit Panjang system's reliability.

The sitting is expected to last two days, and a motion filed by Mr Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC), Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar (Ang Mo Kio GRC), Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok) and Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) is set to be debated on Tuesday.

They will call on MPs to reaffirm multiracialism and social cohesion, and the Government to continue promoting vigilance and resilience among Singaporeans, preventing the spread of radicalised teachings and investing in multiracialism.

Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2017, with the headline 'Parliament to discuss sea collision, LRT issue'. Print Edition | Subscribe