|Equipped with that power drill, he could have saved a young life|
Assistant director of PUB's waterways department Choy Wai Kwong acknowledged he was aware the Mandalay Road stretch was the lowest point in the area. Despite the many instances of flash flooding across the island during the past year, the national water agency had scheduled plans to cover the exposed drains only by the first quarter of next year. It was not exactly the type of complicated public works undertaking that necessitated a call for tender and evaluation of bids. As a matter of fact, by noon of yesterday, one day after the loss of a young life, new railings were promptly installed along 15 m of the drain where flood waters had obscured the death trap at 2.40 pm on Wednesday. All that was needed to save the life of a 15 year old was an timely instruction from an officer in charge.
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, MP for the Moulmein-Kallang GRC area, actually claims he had informed the PUB about the flood prone Mandalay Road last year, after receiving feedback from residents in the vicinity. PUB officials may have ignored him because they were reporting to Yaacob Ibrahim then. But, as Lui reports, PUB has for now taken immediate measures by installing railings to improve safety.
The new minister in charge of the PUB catchment and waterways department is none other than Vivian Balakrishnan, the gutter guy who moved heaven and earth for his YOG project schedule. Lui is Transport Minister. The Land Transport Authority is in charge of putting up the MRT platform screen doors, the absence of which resulted in a 14-year-old Thai girl losing both her legs in a train accident at Ang Mo Kio MRT station in April. LTA's excuse for their leisurely schedule for putting up the safety barriers was that they only have a 3 hour window each day for installation work.
While the various ministries, and their expensive ministers in charge, figure out their personal priorities, watch your step as you navigate the streets of Singapore. Until we have the right people in office, safety is your own responsibility.