The Minister of Transport is a hazardous occupation which no ambitious PAP ministerial candidate would want to step into voluntarily. Although Cowboy Khaw did not actually volunteer for the job but because of his reputation as a trouble-shooter when he helmed the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of National Development he became the obvious choice for a distressing PM Lee Hsien Loong to appoint to this hot seat. And in line with his flamboyant character Cowboy Khaw could hardly hide his ecstacy as his appointment could provide him with the golden opportunity to flaunt his so-called extraordinary prowess to deal with an extremely intractable rail problem which had caused the political demise of his two predecessors.
Since taking over the Minister of Transport portfolio, with due credit to him, he has shown incredible diligence in learning the intricacies of engineering construction of the rail system and of the permutation of every conceivable technical fault with the hope of finding a concrete solution to all these ills.He has appointed the PUB chairman Mr. Tan Gee Paw as an advisor to the MRT whose unique experience in water supply maintenance is considered to be invaluable in helping Cowboy Khaw in solving the rail maintenance problem.
His almost daily regalement of his efforts in keeping the public informed of what he perceives as the technical faults of the rail system and of the diligence with which he has organised his technical staff to look searchingly for every possible technical fault to set it right could not have missed the attention of the public. He portrays the rail engineers as "rat-catchers".His diligent efforts should have rewarded him with zero rail disruption and the breakdown of the North-East Line on 26 October affecting 41,000 commuters in the morning rush hour could not but have caused him immense agony.For a moment he seemed to be in despair by quoting Murphy's Law to emphasise his point that we can be prepared to expect worsened rail disruptions. So the disruption on 25 November of the North-South Line affecting 70,000 commuters is like a prediction come true.
It is to his advantage that he has not lost his nerves and seems to be quite quick in recovering his composure to continue with the arduous task of gaining public confidence to his relentless pursuit of finding a panacea to his rail problems. His latest stunt in combining the expertise of the LTA, SMRT, SBS Transit and PUB water engineers to tackle the intractable rail problems may well be the step in the right direction.
Cowboy Khaw works very hard and possesses an indomitable spirit to excel. He may well turn out to be the right person for the job and his assiduousness may well bear him the fruitful result that he deserves.