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?