Anthony Loke urges Wee Ka Siong to make LRT collision report public

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DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke has urged Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong to make public the report on the May 24 LRT accident.

In a statement today, Loke said the scant information provided by Wee so far has only invited more questions and speculation on the cause of the incident, eroding public confidence in the LRT service.

“I can’t imagine how a minister can face the victims and family members of those in the tragedy without explaining the (details) behind the accident, which has caused them pain and suffering,” he said.

Loke, who preceded Wee as transport minister, said that if he was the minister in charge, he would have definitely made the report public as soon as it was presented to the cabinet.

The report by a nine-member independent committee, led by Transport Ministry secretary-general Isham Ishak, was submitted to the cabinet on Wednesday.

A summary of the committee’s findings was made public by Wee on Thursday, suggesting that there was a procedural breach. It is unclear who bore the ultimate blame.

The accident involved a train that was being tested on a live track at around 8.30pm. The other train was carrying 213 passengers. A few passengers were critically injured in the crash.

According to Wee, the test train hostler (driver) and the operations control centre (OCC) had mistakenly sent the test train going backwards.

As for the train carrying passengers, Wee said it was “prematurely” allowed to move on the same track as the test train.

Loke said Wee should have explained the details of the procedural breaches and why critical breaches were committed by the hostler and the OCC staff.

He said the independent committee should have been invited to Wee’s press conference yesterday to field questions.

“Not a single expert that was involved (in the committee) was invited to the press conference,” Loke added.

More transparency and explanations are needed on the results of the investigations, Loke said.

“Questions from the public remain unanswered. What exactly caused the LRT crash on May 24?

“There was no elaboration from the ministry on why critical standard operating procedures (SOPs) were ignored by both the hostler (train driver) and staff at the working operation control centre (OCC),” he said.

He said it was also not stated whether staff at the OCC were given adequate training on the SOPs of train operations.

He also said the health and safety of the staff involved were not explained in terms of whether they had enough rest or if factors such as fatigue might have contributed to the collision.

“What about the condition of the track in the tunnel section at the time of the accident? Was it poor lighting or that the existing signage was not clear enough for the hostler to determine the direction of the train?” he asked.

Loke said there were many possibilities and hypotheses raised by various parties since the incident, but no specific details had been released by the ministry.