Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan breaks fast with workers in e-buka puasa

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan broke fast with 19 Muslim transport workers on April 30, 2020.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan broke fast with 19 Muslim transport workers on April 30, 2020.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM ZOOM

He wants to thank workers, virtually if not in person, for helping to keep S'pore running

With circuit breaker measures in force, a Zoom video conference was the setting yesterday in which Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan broke fast with 19 Muslim transport workers observing the holy month of Ramadan.

He said breaking fast - or buka puasa - with workers was normally done in person, but still wanted to achieve it with video technology.

"I think it is necessary because I wanted to make a special thank you to all our transport colleagues," he said.

On the call, he spoke briefly about how the airport and ports are still operating, and thanked the workers for their effort in keeping Singapore running during this period.

He said: "Changi Airport may be empty but actually, cargo planes are still very busy.

"Likewise at the Port of Singapore. From my office, I can see the ships calling at Pasir Panjang Terminal. They bring in very important cargo for Singaporeans.

"That's how we get our food, medicine, our masks and (how) nurses get their protective equipment," Mr Khaw said.

"The whole world, including Singapore, is not yet out of the woods. But I'm confident we will," he added.

Mr Khaw also revealed he was supervising the home-based learning of two grandchildren living with him.

Also on the call was former Singapore Idol winner Taufik Batisah, who took a "wefie" with the workers at the end.

Also present were Land Transport Authority chief executive Ngien Hoon Ping, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore director-general Kevin Shum and Maritime Port Authority CEO Quah Ley Hoon.

A majority of the workers on the "e-buka puasa" appeared to still be at their workplaces.

Speaking from his dormitory along the Thomson-East Coast Line, construction worker Shamim Khan said his employer Gammon Construction has provided facilities like spacious air-conditioned rooms, free Wi-Fi and online English lessons for the workers.

"We hope the outbreak will be over soon," said Mr Khan, 35, who has worked in Singapore for 12 years and is helping to build Havelock station.


Assistant station manager Rohaza Mohamad Jamari, 41, who has been with SMRT for 20 years, said she sometimes has to take turns with her colleagues to break fast at her counter.

SBS Transit bus captain Sugumaran Sunmugam, 49, said he misses talking with his passengers now that he has a mask on.

"My wife said it's okay, because I love my job and my passengers," he said. The Malaysian, who has been with SBS for seven years, said he just celebrated his 27th wedding anniversary while in Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2020, with the headline 'Khaw breaks fast with workers in e-buka puasa'. Print Edition | Subscribe