Monday, 31 July 2017

Key to success of the Maritime Silk Road


Keeping Straits of Malacca and Singapore open to shipping key to success of Maritime Silk Road, says DPM Teo

A key requirement for the success of the Maritime Silk Road – which envisions linking China by sea with Europe by way of various Asian and African countries – is to keep critical sea lanes open and safe for shipping, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

This means the transit passage through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore cannot be suspended or impeded, as these waters are crucial to connecting the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Vessels from all countries use the sea lanes as well. Also, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore hold the status of “Straits used for international navigation”, and passage through them is provided for in international law, he added. DPM Teo made these points in his opening address at the FutureChina Global Forum on Thursday (July 13), when he outlined Singapore’s position on the right of transit passage for ships and planes of all countries through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

Singapore is a strong proponent of this right, he said. “This is a key principle of vital interest to us as trade is our lifeblood.” At the same time, adhering to the principle is key to the success of the Maritime Silk Road as it ensures smooth flow of trade and traffic through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. DPM Teo outlines 3 key areas where Singapore, China can work together to realise full potential of Belt and Road Initiative

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Safe and free flow of goods key to realising potential of China's Belt and Road Initiative: DPM Teo
Safe and free flow of goods key to realising potential of China's Belt and Road Initiative: DPM Teo

The safe & free flow of goods is key to realising the full potential of large investments that have been made to boost connectivity and transport linkages cross 4 continents under China's Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Delivering the opening speech at the FutureChina Global Forum on Thursday (Jul 13) morning, Mr Teo noted that much attention has been focused on the "headline-grabbing value & scale" of some large infrastructure projects along the Belt & Road.

"However, China appreciates that realising the full potential of BRI involves more dimensions and layers," he said, adding that BRI's overarching concept is about boosting connectivity.

related:
China’s Belt and Road initiative presents risks and rewards for South-east Asia
Lessons from Asean for Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative
Singapore, China to strengthen 'Belt and Road Initiative' cooperation in 3 areas
Singapore a ‘strong supporter’ of China’s Belt and Road initiative: Balakrishnan
Chinese provinces gear up for more infrastructure investment on Belt & Road push

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Belt and Road initiative will help China grow ties with rest of world: PM Lee
PM Lee Hsien Loong speaks at a dialogue at the annual Business China Awards industry conference

China’s Belt & Road initiative is a way for China to grow ties with the rest of the world in a "constructive" way, said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday (Jul 14).

Speaking at a dialogue at the annual Business China Awards industry conference, Mr Lee addressed concerns that the initiative had prompted unease over China’s growing influence.

“(China’s) influence is growing, it will have to be accommodated in the global system," he said to about 700 business & community leaders from China and Singapore. "The question is how, and whether this will be a stable, smooth adjustment, or a troubled & destabilising one."

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‘S’pore a strong supporter of China’s Belt and Road’

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday reiterated Singapore’s support of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), while noting that both countries have made it a key focus area for bilateral cooperation.

Delivering the opening speech at the FutureChina Global Forum yesterday morning, he noted that both sides are looking at how to enhance physical and digital connectivity, financial connectivity, as well as people-to-people connectivity.

“We are an early & strong supporter of both the Belt & Road, and the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank),” said Mr Teo, adding that Singapore had joined 20 other countries as founding signatories of the AIIB agreement in Oct 2014.

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Singapore to work with China to realise Belt and Road's full potential

One important way is to ensure the safe & free flow of goods overland & across the seas, including the Strait of Malacca and the Strait of Singapore, he said.

For this reason, "Singapore will continue to uphold this right of transit passage for ships & aircraft of all countries, and will not support any attempt to restrict transit passage to ships or aircraft from any country".

He also said that working together to provide safe and unimpeded passage to all is a key prerequisite for the modern Maritime Silk Road.

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Singapore to reap benefits from China's Belt and Road Initiative

AMID the global rise of nationalism, China's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) - now renamed as the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) - is a breath of fresh air, promising modern economic inclusion and connectivity.

The modern Silk Road equivalent embodies a greater vision of regions connected across the world for mutual economic growth and development. Financial & economic integration is an integral element of the BRI blueprint, not only in enhancing China's trade and financial relations with participating countries, but also to provide the much-needed financial resources to support infrastructure finance - a key sector to stimulate global economic growth.

With the speed up of connectivity between China & the modern Silk Road, another prominent benefit of BRI is the opportunity for renminbi (RMB) to play an even more active role after it has been included in the IMF SDR basket of Reserve currencies since October last year.

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Malaysia's ECR touted as a game changer: Shenzhen to Port Klang

In a remote nook along Peninsular Malaysia's east coast, millions of tonnes of sand are being dredged up from the South China Sea to get Kuantan Port ready for the country's priciest infrastructure project yet: a RM55 billion (S$17.7 billion) railway link financed by China.

The East Coast Rail Line project (ECRL) will connect ports on the east and west coasts of Peninsular Malaysia & could alter regional trade routes which currently ply between the busy Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea via S'pore, officials say.

This potential game changer gives a glimpse of China's ambitions to expand its economic clout in Asia and beyond. And it explains why land is being reclaimed at such a frenzied pace at Kuantan Port.

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China projects in Malaysia to hit Singapore
Most of the Malaysia-China indirect trade (about RM200bil) that goes through S'pore could return to Malaysia

The giant republic's aggressive investments in ports & rail links in Malaysia under its belt-road regional economic expansion programme is going to change the outlook for the island republic.

China's current mega belt-road projects in Malaysia, once completed, will alter trade routes in the region & this may divert hundreds of billions worth of trade from Singapore, according to industry players.

Cargoes & goods within the region heading for China or vice versa could bypass the Port of Singapore, when China-funded ports & East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) in Peninsular Malaysia are completed within 5 to 10 years

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China Plans Arctic Belt and Road Initiatives
Arctic

When China convened its Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in May, most of the attention focused on the initiative’s plans for transportation infrastructure across the Eurasian landmass and the Indian Ocean. Since then, however, China formally incorporated the Arctic into its plans for maritime cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, also sometimes called One Belt, One Road.

The Vision for Maritime Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, released on June 20 by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the State Oceanic Administration, explains that a “blue economic passage” is “envisioned leading up to Europe via the Arctic Ocean.”

This “blue economic passage” would be along Russia’s Northern Sea Route, the Arctic shipping lane that hugs the country’s north coast. Over email, Dr Marc Lanteigne, a Senior Lecturer in Security Studies at Massey University in New Zealand and a China expert, explained, “This paper is the first official confirmation that the Arctic Ocean is among the ‘blue economic passages’ Beijing is seeking to develop.”

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Vision for Maritime Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative

The oceans comprise the largest ecosystem on earth, contributing valuable assets for human survival and a common arena for sustainable development. As globalization and regional economic integration progress, oceans have become a foundation and bridge for market and technological cooperation and for information sharing. Developing the blue economy has become an international consensus, ushering in a new era of increased focus and dependence upon maritime cooperation and development. As the saying goes, "Alone, we go faster; together, we go further."

Conforming with the prevailing trend of development, openness and cooperation, strengthening maritime cooperation contributes to closer links between world economies, deeper mutually beneficial cooperation, and broader space for development. Enhancing maritime cooperation also enables various countries to jointly tackle challenges and crises, thus promoting regional peace and stability.

China advocates the Silk Road Spirit - "peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit", and exerts efforts to implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the field of coasts and oceans. China is willing to work closely with countries along the Road, engage in all-dimensional and broad-scoped maritime cooperation and build open and inclusive cooperation platforms, and establish a constructive and pragmatic Blue Partnership to forge a "blue engine" for sustainable development.

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The BRI trap

There are three distinct strands of opinions that Indian intelligentsia is now espousing. First, India did the right thing by avoiding participation in the summit, given that China is investing about $50 billion in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a highway project that runs through the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Jammu and Kashmir over which India claims sovereignty. Defenders of this ‘boycott line’ argue that India’s participation would have been construed as its surrender to Pakistan’s claim over that particular territory.

The second strand of thought maintains that India should have actively engaged in positive diplomacy and used the summit as a forum to voice its concerns and differences. This school of thought holds that it was undiplomatic to boycott the conference and miss the opportunity to express the Indian viewpoint on the entire project.

The third argument is in favour of involvement, meaningful participation and harnessing of benefits that the BRI would hopefully generate. This school of thought urges to take the economic might of fast emerging China as well as its proximity to India into consideration while operationalising the latter’s economic diplomacy. Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised to invest $900 billion in the next five years, mainly for infrastructure development on both the ‘belt’ and ‘road’ fronts. Clearly, China appears determined to employ this ambitious project not only to expand its pure mercantilism but also to exert its geo-strategic and geo-political muscles simultaneously. As such, it is natural for India to be apprehensive of losing its traditional sphere of influence as these two giants share the same neighbourhood with a bead of smaller nations between them.

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Full coverage:
Enhancing the potential of China's Belt and Road initiative
'S'pore a strong supporter of China's Belt and Road'
S'pore to work with China to realise Belt and Road's potential of Initiative
Safe & free flow of goods key to realising potential of China's Belt
Singapore to reap benefits from China's Belt and Road Initiative
Belt and Road plays key role in joint terror fight
China & Portugal step up cooperation on New Silk Road initiative
China, Portugal to step up cooperation under Belt & Road Initiative
Belt and Road to ease container shipping overcapacity
China's Belt and Road will help shape the future of the UK
China Plans Arctic Belt and Road Initiatives
Belt and Road Investors See Opportunity in China Capital Limits
Belt and Road Initiative expected to enhance South-South cooperation
Capitalise on 'One Belt One Road' initiative
UN welcomes role of Belt and Road initiative in Africa's integration
Japan opens the way to cooperation on China's Belt and Road Initiative
Japan, China must make concessions to rebuild mutually relationship
Mongolia Gets On Board with China's Belt and Road Initiative
US can benefit from China's Belt & Road Initiative: think tank
Hong Kong courts Asean countries with Belt and Road advantages
Belt and Road Economic Indices launched to explore investment
Abe to cooperate in 'One Belt, One Road' initiative
$3T Belts and Road Infrastructure Comes to America
The Far Reaching Chinese-Russian Silk Belt & Road JV
India should shed 'strategic anxiety', join Belt and Road Initiative
Belt and Road shipping indices officially released
China eyes more cooperation with Equatorial Guinea on Belt and Road
Lukashenko on Belt & Road initiative:We should seize the historic chance
China eyes more cooperation with France under Belt and Road
South-South cooperation promoters visit AIIB, Silk Road Fund
Is the Dragon Leading Us Into a New World Order?
The BRI trap
UN welcomes role of Belt and Road initiative in Africa's integration
Belt and Road Initiative expected to enhance South-South cooperation
Belt and Road Initiative Vs Nepali tourism
Belt and Road Investors See Opportunity in China Capital Limits
China Plans Arctic Belt and Road Initiatives
China's OBOR Juggernaut Rolls On as a Mute India Watches
How the Belt Road initiative is reviving Chinese investment in Africa
Strategy for Global Leadership: China's Belt & Road Project
ICBC Standard Bank launches Belt and Road economic indices
Opportunities for Portugal in the Chinese “One Belt, One Road” initiative
Belt and Road plays key role in joint terror fight
Did Japan Just Jump On China's Belt And Road Bandwagon?
Belt & Road Initiative new approach for Asian regional cooperation
China & Portugal step up cooperation on New Silk Road initiative
China, Portugal to step up cooperation under Belt & Road Initiative
Belt and Road to ease container shipping overcapacity
Belt & Road Economic Indices launched to explore investment opportunity
China's Belt and Road will help shape the future of the UK
Experts expect China to hit growth targets
China Plans Arctic Belt and Road Initiatives
Belt and Road Investors See Opportunity in China Capital Limits
Japan opens the way to cooperation on China's Belt and Road Initiative
Japan, China must make concessions to rebuild relationship
Mongolia Gets On Board with China's Belt and Road Initiative
US can benefit from China's Belt & Road Initiative: think tank
Hong Kong courts Asean countries with Belt and Road advantages
HKTDC Belt and Road Summit to focus on ASEAN infrastructure
Abe to cooperate in 'One Belt, One Road' initiative
$3T Belts and Road Infrastructure Comes to America
China to pour trillions into Belt and Road projects
The Far Reaching Chinese-Russian Silk Belt & Road JV - China
India should shed 'strategic anxiety', join Belt and Road Initiative
Belt and Road shipping indices officially released
Myanmar and the chase for the new Silk Road

New Silk Road 新絲綢之路 Xīn sīchóu zhī lù
The "One Belt, One Road" 一带一路 initiative
Arctic shipping: The Northwest Passage
Singapore And The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Embracing, Leaning & Tilting towards China
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
Singapore - China Bilateral Ties
The Little Red Dot and the Red Dragon
Singapore China G-to-G Projects

Sunday, 30 July 2017

MRT gets more reliable despite rise in breakdowns

Khaw Boon Wan says MRT Reliability has Improved by 3 Times since he Took Charge of Transport Ministry
redwire-singapore-khaw-boon-wan-train-mrt
Khaw Boon Wan was appointed Transport Minister in 2015, and he says that since then the reliability of the MRT system has improved by 3 times

Mr Khaw, who is also the Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure, said this earlier today at the fourth joint forum on infrastructure maintenance organised by SMRT.

He said that while under former Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, Singapore’s MRT trains travelled an average of 133,000km between delays of more than five minutes.

But since the coming of the Khaw, this figure has “happily gone up to nearly 400,000 (393,000) train-km”.

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Khaw Boon Wan sets new rail network reliability target as MRT becomes three times as dependable as in 2015

The MRT system's reliability has improved by 3 times since Mr Khaw Boon Wan moved to the Transport Ministry in 2015, but the minister wants to raise the bar much higher.

Speaking at the 4th joint forum on infrastructure maintenance organised by SMRT on Thursday (Jul 27), the Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport said that in 2015 - the year he replaced Mr Lui Tuck Yew at the ministry, Singapore's MRT trains travelled an average of 133,000km between delays of more than 5 minutes.

This is known as mean km between failure (MKBF).

related: Dislodged door caused MRT power trips

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Transport minister Khaw Boon Wan claims MRT more reliable, commentors say otherwise

Speaking at the 4th joint forum on infrastructure maintenance organised by SMRT on Wednesday (Jul 26), the Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan said that Singapore's MRT is 3 times as dependable as in 2015.

The reason? In 2015, MRT trains travelled an average of 133,000km between delays of more than 5 minutes. Now? It's 393,000km.

Mr Khaw said these are satisfactory outcomes that have exceeded their target of 300,000 mean km between failure (MKBF).

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Rail reliability has improved but Khaw sets new higher standards
Rail reliability has improved but Khaw sets new higher standards

Rail operators have loftier rail reliability standards to live up to by 2020, with Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan setting a new target for rail reliability in 2020 to improve seven times from 2015’s standards.

The new 2020 target is 1 million train-km, measured as mean kilometres between failure (MKBF) or average distance trains can travel before hitting delays of more than 5 minutes.

Speaking at the 4th Joint Forum on Infrastructure Maintenance on Thursday (Jul 27), Mr Khaw, who is also the Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure, noted that overall train frequency between delays of more than five minutes have risen from 133,000km in 2015 to nearly 400,000km as of the first half of this year, based on preliminary data which exclude the delays due to testing of the new signalling system. That is an improvement of nearly 3 times.

related:
Wet platforms at Tuas West Extension’s open house
June 28 rush-hour delay on NSL, Tuas West Extension due ‘human error’
Two new bus services to launch with debut of Tuas West Extension
Higher target for rail reliability standards: Khaw Boon Wan
Tuas West Extension opens after six-month delay

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Minister Khaw Boon Wan Says MRT Reliability Has Tripled, Netizens Say He Ownself Praise Ownself
Khaw Boon Wan Praises His Own Results

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan is at it again. He’s gone and praised the MRT’s reliability, but this time he’s gone further — he’s also praised his own results.

At a joint forum organized by SMRT earlier Thursday (July 27), The Straits Times reported Mr Khaw as saying that that the MRT system’s reliability has improved by three times since he took over from his predecessor Lui Tuck Yew. Of course, the minister had impressive figures to back up his statement. To an ordinary Singaporean affected by the numerous train service disruptions in the past months, it probably comes as a surprise that this is somehow an improvement in reliability.

Mr Khaw was quoted by the Straits Times as saying that in 2015, incidentally the year that he replaced Mr Lui as transport minister, Singapore’s MRT trains travelled an average of 133,000km between delays of more than 5 minutes.

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SGAG‏ @SGAG_SG

Three times? More like three times the waiting time lor!!!

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Khaw Boon Wan takes issue with press coverage of MRT resignalling project
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said he did not like the way the press has been covering the resignalling project "because they've magnified the problem unfairly" FOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

In his off-the-cuff remarks, Mr Khaw said resignalling was "a very complex" task. But the media, he said, "think it's so easy ... like holding a pen and writing a few articles, & get the signalling done".

"I wish it was so simple. If it were so simple, they don't need us. We can ask the reporter to run the train system," he said to laughter in the audience.

In response, The Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez said: "We are aware of the complexities involved in the resignalling process even as normal operations have to continue. We have reported on that, but we also have to report on the difficulties that crop up along the way, & the impact they have on commuters facing disruptions."

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Khaw Boon Wan Slams Straits Times Reporters For Actually Reporting The Truth

Khaw Boon Wan Criticizes Mainstream Media For Doing Their Job.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan must surely win the 2017 Star Awards for best comedy performer after delivering yet another jaw-dropping performance.

During the same press conference on Thursday (July 27) where he boasted that MRT reliability had tripled under his efforts, Mr Khaw lambasted the media for their coverage of the numerous MRT breakdowns.

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Transport Minister’s wrong signal vs Main Media’s “only” commuter, Ashley Wu
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan is an angry man

Apparently, he was so upset with the press for their “unfair magnification of the problems” arising from SMRT’s ongoing resignalling project, that he said, “Even the main media have turned tabloid. Yes, exciting and so on… frightening readers… If it were so simple, they don’t need us. We can ask the reporter to run the train system.”

Naturally, The Straits Times (ST), which prides itself as the main media in Singapore, finds Minister’s remarks difficult to swallow. Its editor issued a response on the same day in defence.

While this was going on, one service of the Bukit Panjang Light Rail Train was down due to a train fault. And a train service delay during morning rush hours had just happened on Tuesday (25 July).

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Frequent MRT disruptions a concern: experts
Frequent MRT disruptions a concern: experts

Transport experts have raised concerns over the frequent delays caused by faults in the rail network, with nine occurring this month alone. Yesterday's breakdown in services was the 9th this month. Here are the others, with 2 on July 20:
  • JULY 24 - A door obstruction at Newton station causes delays on the North-South Line during evening peak hours.
  • JULY 20 - Temporary clamps that came loose near Choa Chu Kang station on the North-South Line cause delays of about 10 minutes at 5.30pm. A signalling fault later causes trains to stop in between stations for more than 15 minutes on the Circle Line around 10pm.
  • JULY 19 - A train fault near Newton station affects service on the North-South Line.
  • JULY 12 - A train fault and a track circuit fault cause delays of about two hours in the morning on the east-bound stretch from Joo Koon to Clementi stations.
  • JULY 10 - A signalling fault causes delays between Queenstown and Bugis stations from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
  • JULY 7 - A train fault causes a 30-minute morning delay between Woodlands and Jurong East stations.
  • JULY 5 - A train fault causes a 30 minute evening delay on the East-West Line.

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How can MRT reliability improved 3 times, when there are so many breakdowns

Ownself exclude ownself? It was noted by Mr Khaw that the MKBF "has happily gone up to nearly 400,000 (393,000) train-km” in the first half of this year (2017) based on preliminary data, and had also excluded delays arising from the testing of a new signalling system on the North-South line.

The minister noted that all five lines had improved, with the star performer being the North-East line, which clocked nearly 1 million (978,000) train-km between failures. “This is a satisfactory outcome, against our targets of 300,000 MKBF this year, 400,000 MKBF next year and 800,000 train-km by 2020,” Mr Khaw said, adding that he set these targets last year against the best-in-class Taipei Metro, which clocked 800,000 MKBF.

But by excluding the “delays arising from the testing of a new signalling system, we have conveniently evaded all the frequent and extensive delays that have happened recently. Does the Taipei Metro exclude delays due to certain reasons like what we are now doing in Singapore?

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Commuters feeling frustrated after recent train delays

Commuters affected by yesterday's shutdown of the North-South Line (NSL) had feared the worst when they were greeted by the sight of packed free bus services & long taxi lines during rush-hour traffic.

So it was a relief to many when train services resumed about 10 minutes later, albeit at reduced speeds. Normal service resumed only at about 7.20pm, more than 2 hours after the line came to a standstill.

But with the shutdown coming on the back of Tuesday's delays on the North-South & East-West lines during the morning peak hours, commuters are feeling increasingly frustrated.

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Petition started to get SMRT into Guinness Book of World Records for longest breakdown

Singapore recently saw a spate of breakdowns, and delays, due to signal faults.
This has lead to a few disgruntled commuters setting up this petition.

421 signatures as of the time of this writing. Their goal is to reach 1,000 signatures.

You can find the petition here.

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SMRT ordered to check all service maintenance doors after disruptions
SMRT ordered to check all service maintenance doors after disruptions

At 11.30am, train services between Queenstown & Bugis MRT stations on the East-West Line were halted for 30 minutes as traction power had to be switched off to enable engineers to access the tracks safely to fix the problem.

Normal train service resumed progressively after the door was removed at noon.

Yesterday's incident was the 9th reported delay affecting the train system this month, leaving transport experts concerned about the recent spate of faults.

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LTA orders system-wide checks after loose door causes train delays
LTA orders system-wide checks after loose door causes train delays

A “loosened service maintenance door” caused power faults and widespread delays on the rail network on Tuesday  (Jul 25), as SMRT briefly shut services between Queenstown & Bugis stations for urgent repairs. The disruption led the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to direct the operator to carry out system-wide checks.

The 11.30am shutdown in services, lasting 30 minutes, came hours after the power faults & a separate track circuit problem snarled the rush-hour morning commute on the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL).

In a statement, the LTA said the cause of the “intermittent traction power tripping” on the NSEWL “was traced to a loosened service maintenance door next to the tracks in the tunnel near Tiong Bahru MRT Station along the East-West Line”. The faulty door has since been removed. The SMRT had earlier referred to a “loose panel” as the cause of the power faults.

related:
Track circuit fault causes delays on East-West Line
Train fault causes 40-minute delay on SMRT East-West Line
Traction power trip behind hour-long service disruption, blackouts on EWL & NSL
Crowds expected at North-South, East-West Lines due to 'intermittent power fault'
Power fault causes rush-hour delay on East-West Line

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Loose door causes delays, shutdown between Queenstown and Bugis MRT stations

A loose door in the tunnel near Tiong Bahru MRT station caused power trips & delays for MRT commuters for more than 7 hours on Tuesday (Jul 25), and led to a brief shutdown of eight stations.

The delays started at around 6am on the North-South and East-West Lines, & at 11.30am, train service was shut down between Queenstown and Bugis stations for 30 minutes for "urgent repair works".

The cause of the power trip was traced to a loosened service maintenance door next to the tracks in the tunnel near Tiong Bahru MRT station, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

read more

Platform doors at Botanic Gardens MRT station malfunction, causing 7-hour disruption

A malfunction in the platform screen doors at Botanic Gardens MRT station resulted in trains bypassing the station and a seven-hour disruption on Wed (May 3).

Downtown Line operator SBS Transit said the doors malfunctioned at 5.45am due to a signalling-related fault, & could not open automatically.

"Staff had to manually operate the doors whenever a train arrived at the station and this took some time which caused a delay to train services," a spokesperson said.

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Massive delay along North-South Line during morning rush hour

Commuters rushing for school and work on the North-South line (NSL) were met with an unexpected delay in their morning commute as they tried to assess the situation without any announcement by train operator SMRT.

SMRT only made an announcement of the delay at 9.10, more than two hours or more since the delay occurred. Stating that the cause of the delay as signalling fault and asked commuters to cater for additional 20 minutes of travelling time.

SMRT had earlier cautioned commuters on 26 May to cater for additional travelling time as its engineers resolve teething issues on the new signalling system for the NSL from 29 May.

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Train disruption on two major MRT lines — more delays expected as checks continue
More delays expected as checks continue

Train disruptions yesterday that affected tens of thousands of commuters on the way home during the evening peak hours were blamed on a fault in the new signalling system being put through its paces.

Train operator SMRT & the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the system is expected to "take a few more months to fully stabilise".

The North-South MRT line (NSL) went down after 5pm. While SMRT engineers were able to get the line up again within 10 minutes or so, trains were moving slower - by as much as 30 minutes & causing crowding at several stations.

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North-South Line hit by delays again due to signalling fault

The North-South MRT line has been hit with a glitch on Friday (Jun 2), the 2nd day in a row this has happened.

On its Facebook page, SMRT said: “Due to a signalling fault, North-South Line (NSL) train services in both directions between Kranji & Admiralty stations have been running at a slower speed since 5:05pm.

“NSL commuters are advised to add about 30 minutes to their journey. Free bus & bus bridging services are available between Choa Chu Kang and Yishun.

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Rise in major breakdowns but MRT gets more reliable
Credit: SGAG

Under mounting pressure over transport inefficiencies and lack of transparency, former army general Chew Men Leong resigned from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on August 6. His 22-month-long tenure as CEO was the shortest in the history of Singapore’s civil service.

“[In the coming months] I will be making a change of career over to the private sector,” commented Chew Men Leong on his decision, but it is believed that his departure from LTA had been sped up by frequent MRT failures and public dissatisfaction with increasing fares.

The failing system - Since gaining independence in 1965, Singapore has undergone a rapid urbanisation. The island city-state’s total area measures only 274 square miles and it is currently inhabited by 5,7 million people, making it one of the most densely populated territories in the world.

read more

related:
Fresh round of signalling fault delays hit NSL & DTL
MRT gets more reliable despite rise in breakdowns
MRT hit by delays again due to signalling fault
MRT disruptions caused by signalling faults
Rise in major breakdowns but MRT gets more reliable
Train disruptions under new Minister of Transport
Train service disrupted on N-S, E-W Lines
Recap of recent Train service disruptions
Recent Train Disruptions
Two SMRTstaff killed by an oncoming train
Transport Woes #2
Transport Woes #1
Transport Woes - A Picture Story
Mixed Reactions To Announcement Of Free MRT Rides
Strange & inappropriate behaviour on public transport
Burned by mystery liquid in trains and bus stop
SMRT subway trains recalled after defects found

Saturday, 29 July 2017

UTAT Hits 1,000,001 Pageviews

Under The Angsana Tree

As on Saturday, 29 Jul 2017 at 07:18 AM

Total Pageviews was 1,000,001 after 64 months since 1st Post on 30 Mar 2012

Total Flags counted by Supercounter.com was 193 as on 29 Jul 2017

Pageviews by Countries and Browsers

https://plus.google.com/+chinchiapoor/posts 45 followers / 8,992,791 views


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Friday, 28 July 2017

One-Third Singapore’s Workforce Are Foreigners

Tharman Says We Must Stop The Flood Of Foreigners, Admits We’re Already Drowning

4 years after Parliament passed the infamous Population White Paper, someone from the Government has finally revealed the extent that foreign workers have gained a hold in Singapore — but he said it in India.

Speaking at an economics forum in India last Saturday (July 22), Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam revealed the startling fact that foreigners make up one-third of Singapore’s workforce. Mr Tharman was speaking at the Delhi Economics Conclave held by the Indian Finance Ministry,

He was asked a question about the Singapore Government tightening restrictions on Indian professionals moving to Singapore, The Straits Times reported. His answer was that it would be “mindless to have an open border without any policy framework to govern and constrain the flow of people”. (Incidentally, this is when he noted that a third of Singapore’s workforce is made up of foreigners.)

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LOCALS STRUGGLE TO FIND JOBS BUT FOREIGNERS LIVE HIGH LIVES

In the past, the govt kept saying we need to import foreigners to do jobs Singaporeans don’t want to do; especially in F&B, construction, retail, cleaners and menial jobs.

Using this reason, millions of foreigners were imported not just for these jobs Singaporeans want to do but also professional jobs Singaporeans want to do.

With extremely high local unemployment, many locals with qualifications are forced to be underemployed or unemployed or driving private taxis or taxis.

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“Foreign workers help create good jobs for S’poreans: PM”

I refer to the reports “Foreign workers help create good jobs for S’poreans: PM” (Straits Times, 22 April) and “Foreign workers help to create more good jobs for Singaporeans: PM”.

The former states that:
“In his speech, Mr Lee [Hsien Loong] noted that six in 10 of the employees are ‘Singaporeans and permanent residents’. Singapore residents also take up two-thirds of the managerial and professional positions…”
Given the remarks at the end of the report – that the “Government’s foreign worker policy could emerge as a hot-button issue this election as some believe that it has hurt residents’ job prospects and depressed wages” –  I find it somewhat strange that even at this eleventh hour before the elections, the Prime Minister is still using “Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs)” statistics.

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Singapore tightens rules on foreign workers
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Workers head to work at Singapore's central business district on August 23, 2011. Singapore announced tighter rules on the hiring of foreign professional workers, saying companies will from next year have to show proof they first tried to recruit local citizens (AFP/File)

Singapore Monday announced tighter rules on the hiring of foreign professional workers, saying companies will from next year have to show proof they first tried to recruit local citizens.

The change, taking effect in August 2014, follows protests and online complaints about the large number of foreigners in the affluent city-state.

The Ministry of Manpower said companies that discriminate against citizens "will be subject to additional scrutiny" when they apply for employment passes for foreign professionals.

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Two thirds of jobs created went to foreigners

Lim Hng Kiang has quoted some numbers on jobs created over the last 5 years and how many of these jobs went to locals and foreigners. He said, ‘In the last five years, we have been generating something like 120,000 jobs a year, of which 40,000 are Singaporeans and we end up with 80,000 foreign workers. Going forward we have decided that this is no longer tenable over a long term.’

In summary, over the last 5 years 600,000 jobs were created and only 120,000 went to Singaporeans. Could the numbers be extrapolated backwards for a 10 year period and could the number be 1.2m jobs created with 400,000 going to locals and 800,000 going to foreigners? How long has this ratio of employment favouring foreigner been going on that Hng Kiang now realised that it is unsustainable and must be stopped?

He said that his ministry would now be more selective and stringent in the type of companies to bring in and the type of jobs that would be created.His projection is that this year 80,000 to 100,000 jobs will be created and between 40,000 to 60,000 foreign workers would be added to the workforce 

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Parliament endorses Population White Paper by 77 votes to 13
After a week-long heated debate, Parliament voted on Friday to endorse the population White Paper by 77 votes to 13, with one abstention.

Close to 6pm, Madam Speaker of Parliament Haalimah Yaacob called the House to a vote.

WP leader Low Thia Kiang stunned those in attendance by standing up to ask the Speaker for a division to the motion, effectively meaning the House could not decide to pass the paper by a verbal vote. The House doors were then locked and the assembly took to an electronic vote.

The nine Workers' Party MPs and NCMPs, Lina Chiam, along with Nominated Members of Parliament Janice Koh, Faizah Jamal and Laurence Lien all voted against the motion, while 77 voted in favour.

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related:
Alternative 'Blue Paper' On SG Population
Voice Of The People @ Hong Lim Park
A Photo Documentary Of Hong Lim Protest
Large Turnout At Protest Against Population White Paper
The White Paper & The Singaporean Core
Afterthoughts Of The White Paper on Population
"Worst-case Scenario" Of A 6.9 Million Population
Parliament endorses Population White Paper
Planned Protest Against Population White Paper
Parliament Debates WP's Proposals
Parliament Debates Population White Paper
SG White Paper On Population
Our SG Population
Population and Immigrants