When You buy Equipment Some Degree of Defects Are Expected
When YOU buy electronics (rice cookers, ovens, cars etc...) do you not expect (as a matter of routine) that there might be failure? You don't? Really?
Then why do you insist on a warranty, huh?
In some cases, at Courts or Harvey Norman, people pay extra for a one-to-one replacement warranty. Companies ROUTINELY provide warranties because they also ROUTINELY know that a small percentage of their products might fail. To keep customers happy, they ROUTINELY provide After Sales Service. The fact that you want a warranty means that you ROUTINELY expect that your product might fail, even though you chose to buy it.
So, tell me again that sending faulty equipment back to the OEM is not routine (and all in a day's work for an engineering organisation)?
People say that all of this is NOT routine because hairline cracks would later pose a safety problem. This assertion is very strange for a two reasons.
(1) What has a later safety problem got to do with whether a practice is routine or not? A routine is "normal practice". The notions of "later safety problem" and "normal practice of finding fault and sending equipment back to OEM" have no relation to each other. One is a routine practice. The other is just a potential safety problem.
(2) There is no safety problem anymore because LTA and MoT have ALREADY taken the ROUTINE initiative to remedy the hairline cracks before they pose a safety problem.
There really is nothing to discuss. The controversy is a non-issue. Faults were found and dealt with.
Must Be LTA Cheapo lahhhh...
Reputable brands and manufacturers can fail too. I bought a Fisher & Paykel fridge years ago. Sexy American brand right? Well, they came and carted away the whole fridge 2 months after I had bought it. I was given no new fridge. I was given a crappy interim fridge to use whilst they repaired that one. When it came back, it still gave problems. That was the last Fisher & Paykel I had ever bought.
After that, I bought a CHEAP Korean made LG. No problems for 12 years. Since then, I buy LG everything.
Smelly Boy's Macbook Air developed a crack across the screen 3 months after we bought it. The service centre told me that it would cost $1500 to fix it despite the warranty. I was so shocked that my hair stood on end.
In contrast, when my CHEAP ACER laptop went kaput during the warranty period, ACER fixed it for me at no cost. ACER's After Sales Service was top notch. I later owned 3 ACERS in a row... a relationship that spanned 12 years before I recently yielded again to Apple's seduction.
So, LTA and MoT bought trains from China. I don't see how different that decision is from my own when I chose to buy a cheap Korean made LG fridge. You guys have never bought cheaper electronics and been pleasantly surprised?
CSR Sifang's After Sales Service
So, hairline cracks were found on the aluminium chassis of the trains. When alerted, CSR Sifang Kawasaki went into After Sales Service Mode. It packed up the trains, shipped them back (at their owncost) and changed the WHOLE chassis. Man! This sure sounds like what ACER did for me when my ACER laptop died.
As someone who uses electronics, I know that there is a chance that some products have defects. I felt safe with ACER because it had a top notch after sales service. CSR Sifang - Kawasaki provided LTA top notch After Sales Service. If it were me, I would be more than happy to buy a 2nd lot of trains from them.
Would I Have Bought the FIRST Lot of Trains Though?
Despite what I said herein above, here is where I think there was poor judgment. CSR Sifang had not much of a track record AND this was a matter of an entire country's rail service (and not just a laptop). It is also a PRC company and I would have worried about the quality of workmanship, given the notoriously poor quality of China made products.
If we hadn't bought the first lot of trains from them, there would be no issue of hairline cracks today. However, I believe that buying a 2nd lot of trains from them made perfect sense.
The 1st lot of trains were bought by a previous silly Minister. Now, Khaw Boon Wan is left taking crap in the face just as he is working hard to improve transport.
Was There Intent to Cover Up a Deep Dark Secret?
No lah! If you work in an equipment intensive organisation, it really is ROUTINE. There was no secret. Simply, no one thought such a ROUTINE matter was worth reporting (especially since it had already been dealt with).
A month ago, Nissan made me drive my 8 year old car back to the Service Centre to change a part that would have safety implications (not yet) some months or years later. I took time off and did it. I did not tell my kids (who ride in my car). I did not tell my in-laws (who also ride in my car). I did not tell my friends (who ride in my car). I wasn't COVERING UP anything. It just was a problem that I had already dealt with and so I found no utility in mentioning it.
There was a potential safety issue later on if the part were not changed out. Nissan changed it and case closed lohhhh...
It was Nissan lehhh... not Cherry QQ.
Open Report Every Routine Action LTA Takes?
Asking LTA and MoT to open report something like that is not reasonable. They do hundreds of things a day. You really want full open reporting of every routine?
Poor Khaw Boon Wan
I really feel for him. People make fun of him all the time. To me, he is worthy of every respect. Every time I walk into Khoo Teck Puat Hospital I thank God for the blessing that is Khaw Boon Wan (aka, Mr Fix It). Have you even been to Kuala Lumpur's public hospitals. There is paint peeling and mould growing on the walls. Patients are parked along the corridors with frayed blankets. The place smells funny too. In contrast, when I visit the hospitals in Singapore, it is like walking to a private clinic. There are paintings, flowers, comfortable armchairs and competent staff.
People who find it easier to get HDB flats now also have Mr Fix-It to thank.
Mr Fix-It has given his whole life to the service of Singapore and he has done so much for us. If you don't thank him, at least stop bullying him.