Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Round One

During the Iran-Iraq war, there was a cartoon of two boxers slugging it out in the ring, with no one in the spectator seats watching. The only observer was a cleaning lady, who told the warring adversaries, "Please turn out the lights when you're done."

LTA (represented by Allen & Gledhill) and SMRT (Drew & Napier) brought their expensive lawyers into the Attorney-General's Chambers for the long overdue Committee Of Inquiry (COI) hearing. That Second Solictor-General Lionel Yee had already set the tone by making it clear the inquiry "is not an adversarial proceeding but a fact finding one," did not dissuade the two contestants from coming out slugging. Maybe it had to do with the presence of the CID, and the implication that a criminal element would not be discounted.

When the short lived ex-President of AWARE Josie Lau brought in legal help for the disastrous EOGM of 2009, she blew $99,291.28 (Rajah & Tann have donated $5,000, Deloitte & Touche $3,000) for the whole shebang which did not help her cause by a single iota. Doubtless, the lawyers will in similar vein benefit more from this sham of a COI than the commuters who will be ultimately stuck with the bill.

At the end of the wasted day (day one of a protracted 6-week wayang) COI Chairman Tan just had to direct the warring factions to focus on certain key issues, elementary stuff like:
- whether trains could have gauges to detect missing collector shoes;
- whether a transparent cover could facilitate inspection;
- whether the 45 minute power supply backup was sufficient

To which, we might add: who's gonna be the fall guy for this one?

41 comments:

  1. You do not need a bunch of lawyers and a circus to find the truth. Ask the technicians, they will tell you the cause is the years of neglect. Yes, parts do fall a part with age but this should be anticipated or surely being mentioned in the handbook. A robust maintenance progam to ensure safety of travelling public would have been in place from the begining.

    So, if all these programs cannot be found, SMRT is cheating the public and at the same time endangering their safety. SMRT is more interested in making money rather than concern about safety of its passengers.

    CEO may be quilty of turning a blind eyes to maintenance but what about the technical heads? They are more guilty than a commercial centric CEO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never mind.
      Got $1.1 billion dollar subsidy straight away to solve the problem of ageing trains.

      Got another instant $1.1 billion dollars to subsidize ageing Sinkies or not ah?

      Delete
  2. Bringing in a team of lawyers to figure out an engineering problem .... is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Vikram Nair (Nee Soon GRC)
    "Where is the money going to come from?" ....
    So what say you Vikram?
    In ref. to Straits Times front page news dated 17 April 2012.

    a.Who pays for the "high powered Committee of Inquiry" which is hosted at our Subordinate Courts?
    b.Who pays LTA that is represented by Singapore's elite law firm Allen & Gledhill?

    c.Who pays for SMRT's legal defence by Singapore's elite law firm Drew & Napier?
    d.Who pays for "the population growth which has increased the strain on the MRT system ..."

    e.Who pays for this 6 week inquiry?
    f.Who pays for the CID team who spent 13 weeks gathering evidence?

    So Vikram.
    Where is the money going to come from?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coming out from the Big Mouth lah!

      Delete
    2. Last I heard the Big Mouth is in Nigeria.

      Seriously this is a no brainer. The money is going to come from:

      (1) The $1.1 billion donated to SBS and SMRT, or
      (2) Increase in train fares, or
      (3) Another donation of $1.1 billion to SMRT, or
      (4) Saw Phaik Hua, or
      (5) (fill in the blanks)

      Delete
  4. Yes, who really care about a dispute between father and son with their 'ah gong' as judge. Father blames son for mismanaging the business he started and son accused him of handing over a rotten apple. Meanwhile, 'ah gong' is trying to look good by staying interested. *yawn*

    All we care about is how to get from point A to point B with minimum delay. We are not even wishing for "world class" anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those who promised us "world class" and "Swiss Standards" are not talking any more? So how far are we from these two classes?

      Delete
    2. Looking back, we now know why they say what they said. It was meant to justify world class pay packages and Swiss's standard of living for themselves and their own kinds.

      But when 'peasants' ask why they are still subject to "3rd world" services and standard of living, the argument is you have it better than many other developing countries. In other words, please count your blessings if you still have bread crumbs to feed on.

      Ostensibly, this country is governed by two set of rules. No wonder Prof Lim has an uphill task correcting the economy with his 'shock therapy', whilst another chap is given celebrity treatment as he peddles his "cheaper, better, faster economy".

      Delete
    3. but we already have world-class transport! we have frequent train breakdowns and delays, just like in first world countries.

      of course these places' trains etc are much older, but let's not be ageist by quibbling over 50 to 80 years.

      Delete
  5. Very expensive taichi lessons. In the end, taxpayers gets scre**d even more and having to deal with 3rd world transport systems.

    ReplyDelete
  6. babykangaroo4/17/2012 1:28 PM

    Why does it matter the outcome..is a kangaroo court isn't it?
    If they're using my money, at least have the decency to have a public broadcast and people get to watch a free show, and see for themselves if these COI are up to any scratch at all...but once again, is closed door.

    I can watch a public grill on Ben Bernake's fiscal policies or see Goldman Sach CEO on trial on my cable, but none of this million-dollar paid runners on own free-to-air tvc. No wonder we are a joke..

    http://www.nma.tv/yale-singapore-campus-academic-freedom/

    ReplyDelete
  7. wayang or no wayang is ok wif me.
    everyone juz got to take oath n tell the public that they r all sacrificing their time n money from the beginning of the investigation till the start of this inquiry right to the end of it or whatever u want to call it on no-pay-leave.
    then n only then would the public at least sit up with pop corns n coke to follow this wayang.
    if not, i believe the only primary suckers would be none other than the 3 commuters among the 108 witnesses.
    of course the secondary suckers would be the commuting public.
    really a joke this coi.
    affected r the cummuters but juz take a good look at the representation.
    if this is not a joke, wat is?
    remember, no one gets paid.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Marina Bay Renaming, Minister Salary Review and now COI. Money well spent by the PAP government

    ReplyDelete
  9. Last heard from the Committee of Inquiry (COI) was there was nothing wrong with the MRT maintenance work, but almost everyday I got new from Temasek Times of breakdown or stoppage in certain parts of the line. As to whether the maintenance is ok or not, the facts speak for themselves. If this is the preliminary finding from the COI, I'm not sure if the public is able to know the real truth.

    Don't place too much hope on this. It will just be like those past SIA plane crashes, nobody will ever know the real causes!

    ReplyDelete
  10. As it turned out, SMRT been using 1st/2 generation of claws instead of the 5th gen that is available. As result, plastic cable ties are interim solutions. Confirming what we already know - 1st world country using 3rd world software.

    Lawyers' bombastic reasons such as "rare confluence of factors' that caused the 15/17th delays. These factors, besides the claws and material defects, include the location of the incidents, vibration levels and upward forces on current-collecting devices.

    Gee, doesn't it sound like 'moonless night, missing binoculars, repeated warnings, fast speed, submerged iceberg, 6 lifeboats etc etc.." all just a rare confluence of factors, surely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This reminds me of Professor LCY's wage/inequality problem.
      first world but try to use thrid world (cheap labor) solutions.
      see what that gets you..wasted productivity, legal cost & time to refix the problem...
      what's the point of having 1000 bus drivers who constantly make mistakes on road/job and cost you more than to have 500 quality drivers by paying them decently well.

      Delete
  11. I can't help wondering how lucky Lui TY is. So far he has yet to be amongst the commuters when the MRT train breaks down, fails to show up or when the cabin lights go off....with Lui inside.

    So far our good-for-nothing PM is predictably silent on this and many other issues.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I wonder what the final bill will look like for the taxpayers?

    a.Cost of engineering solution: $2 million dollars?
    b.Cost of lawyers fees: $20 million dollars?
    c.Cost of CID team investigation: $500,000?
    ..... Have I left out anything else?

    Oh Yes!
    d.Time needed to fix engineering problem: 6 months?
    e.Time needed to arrive at a conclusion by the Committee of Inquiry: 15 months?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what abt the 8 international expert panel , most are foreigners probably flown in from uk..

      Delete
  13. Drew and Napier or Allen & Gledhill are not cheap. A few hundred thousand dollars if lucky maybe even more. Don't be surprised if it comes to a million if the proceedings drag on. The problem with these litigation firms is that they don't just have one lawyer on the job, they have multiple lawyers and they all usually charge for the team from the senior counsel to the junior lawyer. I don't understand why they have to appoint these lawyers, especially LTA. Couldn't LTA use the services of AGC who are supposed to be the government's lawyers? What about their own head legal counsel? It is not fair for taxpayers to be paying A&G's hefty fees. AGC's lawyers are now paid on par with lawyers from the big firms. Surely that implies that they are on par with lawyers from the big firms in terms of quality. Why do they need to appoint big firm lawyers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These lawyers probably work for free, like they say pro bono. After all, they have close links with the PAP. Cover asses, finger pointing? Do you think they will charge, and then ountercharge each other for negligence, and sue each other's asses off? Where is Temasek which owns 54% of SMRT? The whole infrastructure is financed by tax-payers money, used by SMRT to generate profits for their top honchos, Temasek and private investers, and now there is a problem who is responsible? Taxpayers? We should never have privatised our transport system - period.

      Delete
  14. Allen & Gledhill - wasn't K Shanmugam a senior partner there?
    Drew and Napier - isn't Hri Kumar one of their directors?

    They probably didn't involve Lee & Lee because that would be too obvious.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Srsly is there a need for such high profile legal eagles here?
    Did anyone die? Just a simple fact finding investigation and every party is paranoid to cover asses. Goes to show, accountability is no where near 5% on this pathetic island. At least the vice principal own up like a man, plead guilty and face the music without hiding. More balls than this bunch of clowns.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. this case is a big woo-ha and disgrace. COI means that they must be free to conduct investigation without fear and obstruction. Why are those lawyers even there ? To raise objection to question ? Why are our concerned GLC behaving as thought they are big-shot ?

      Delete
  16. Seriously all it takes to resolve the matter is just one Chen Show Mao who has the integrity and credibility compare to those PAP-linked lawyers who are just obey where their masters want them to do.

    ReplyDelete
  17. It will be interesting to know who have been involved in the past space shuttle accident where the COI was led by Richard Feyman, a Nobel scientist, in USA. Were there also expensive lawyers representing those parties involved?

    ReplyDelete
  18. How is it that that BULLshit lawyer representing SMRT can now argue for SMRT that they inherited an ageing system full of inherent flaws ?

    What kind of cock & bull story is that ? Also tried to push the blame on some manufacturing defects ? If it was really an ageing system full of defects to begin with, won't the whole system be paralysed ?

    For all I suspect, the most important reason for the all these failures could have been due to appointing a CEO with no engineering background to take charge of company and putting the wrong priority at maximising profits at the expense of maintenance, very much similar to appointing a CEO with no financial background to be in charge Temasek ?

    These are examples of what I would call meritocracy, my foot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are being so mean! all these big shots passed their exams well you know. that's why they got the job. they got A's in kindergarten, school, university, wherever. that is what our meritocratic system is all about - A's. dont play play, most are scholars too you know. whether or not they can actually do their job, much more do it well, is completely beside the point.

      Delete
  19. Tattler: ...who's gonna be the fall guy for this one?

    The tax-payers and commuters are the patsies, always have and always will be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reminds me of Nicoll Highway collapse and subsequent COI. Not too bad at least we got a free wayang show, Mediacourt & Mediacorp.

      Delete
  20. Seems like we all will feel more reassured if we had an Opposition leader(s) to head the COI.
    I guess we want some tough questions to be asked.
    And with lots of transparency in an open hearing.

    At least that's the feeling I get.

    A political party & a politician's standing is the trust he creates.

    What say you?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hearing is to find the causes and rectify soonest so to benefit the travelling community. It is not to be used as a witch hunt or cover up.

    I would be comfortable to have some technical professionals doing the inquiry rather than lawyers.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Round 2 coming soon? CCL gets the shaft this time with a 'line fault' happening just this morning.

    Of course, not one person is taken to task. Enron should have set up their business headquarters here, the morons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "...the most important reason for the all these failures could have been due to appointing a CEO with no engineering background..."
      If Enron was here, Temasek may acquire it for a good price, like Shin Corp, ABC or Merrill Lynch. And it was meritocracy that landed the person whose decision to buy and write off Micropolis landed her the CEO job in Temasek.

      Delete
  23. First of all, who are the techincians checking the railway system. Is it done by Singaporeans or foreigners.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Well paper just reported that SG failed to meet the 3% productivity target last year. ANY surprise? I would add this year they will double that loss. Reason is very simple - just look around the daily breakdowns of train lines..15 mins - 30 mins - 45 mins all accumulated time loss by the commuters/workers. Whose productivity is going to be affected? Somebody should start working out the total $ loss due to these incompetencies.

    ReplyDelete
  25. 6 months old new line, and breakdown for 2 hrs. These epic series of failures by SMRT only goes to show, there must be some hidden/severe cutting corners...either installation or maintenance. IT should go back years, crawl through all the contractors and procurement. I won't be surprised there will be some serious lapses somewhere. Things don't just happen overnight. Singaporean taxpayers deserve the truths.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not the 60.1% though. They are still living in their little own world with rainbows and unicorns. They can't handle the truth.

      Delete
  26. Each breakdown of the transport system
    could cause the loss of hundreds and thousands
    of man hours. How to increase and or improve
    productivity??

    ReplyDelete
  27. Where is the minister in charge? Queit as a church mouse. Talk, talk, talk that is all he can do? No bite.

    ReplyDelete