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Calvin Cheng’s comment on Minister Chee Hong Tat’s post sparks netizens’ criticism

Former NMP Calvin Cheng faces criticism for suggesting public bear cost of maintaining old payment system. Netizens express concerns on transparency and abrupt changes in response to Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat’s announcement of a $40M investment.

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Calvin Cheng

SINGAPORE: Calvin Cheng, a Singaporean businessman and former Nominated Member of Parliament, faced criticism from netizens for his recent comment on the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) decision to reinstate the old system for public transport payment card options, as announced by Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat in a Facebook post on 22 January.

In Minister Chee Hong Tat’s post, he revealed an additional investment of S$40 million (approximately US$29.8 million) to allow the continued use of EZ-Link cards and Nets FlashPay cards.

According to LTA, the S$40 million is to be spent on hardware replacement and system maintenance.

Cheng argued in his comment that the decision to retain the old system was made to appease those who still prefer it.

Cheng further stated that if the LTA were to proceed with its initial plan of eliminating the old system, it could save S$40 million.

He suggested that those who advocate for the old system should bear the cost associated with its continuation.

Calvin Cheng comments

This commentary from Cheng sparked controversy, with netizens criticizing his viewpoint.

Netizens criticize Cheng’s comment on Minister Chee Hong Tat’s Facebook post

In response to Cheng’s comments, netizens shared their perspectives.

One user emphasized the importance of transparency regarding the S$40 million expenditure on maintaining an existing system, questioning the need for such spending when the current system is functioning well.

The user advised Cheng not to shift the responsibility to the general public and suggested that MOT/LTA should focus on creating benefits for those who heavily depend on public transport for commuting.

Expressing concern about the apparent gap between MOT/LTA and users, the same user pointed out that the reversal on SimplyGo highlighted communication issues.

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Cheng defended his stance by highlighting the widespread use of SimplyGo since 2019, especially among those utilizing Apply Pay, Google Pay, and contactless cards.

He argued that the old system lacks support for these payment methods.

Calvin Cheng comment

Another user countered Cheng’s argument, noting that only around 41% prefer such digital payment options, while others still rely on physical fare cards.

They cautioned against selfish perspectives and emphasized the need to consider the comfort levels of all commuters.

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Addressing the timing of the transition, another user expressed the view that while decommissioning the older system might make sense in the long term, the abrupt announcement and the expectation of a transition within six months were unreasonable.

They argued for a more extended transition plan to allow commuters, especially the 36% affected, sufficient time to comprehend the changes and upgrade their cards.

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A different user emphasized the importance of policymakers carefully thinking through systemic decisions.

They pointed out that despite incentives and promotions since 2019 to switch, 1.5 million transactions still occur on the older card-based ticketing (CBT) system, invalidating the assumption that everyone has embraced the new system.

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Some on Chee’s Facebook post also question whether the “upgrade” can be considered an upgrade.

One wrote, “First of all concession card holders will continue to use current system and can see their balances.This means the current system still needs to run to cater to them. Secondly the simplygo cards can only use for transport not even for erp or parking. How is this an ugrade if you need another card as opposed to the current system? Best solution is to keep both since simplygo allows for credit card usage and concession card users are still on cepas. This is simply common sense”.

Another wrote, “The current way is doing perfectly fine. Please don’t change anything just for the sake of change and call it an upgrade which it’s just an absolute downgrade.”

On the need to pay to cater for the EZ-link cards, as mentioned by Cheng, one user noted that other countries like the UK, Hong Kong (China), and Australia still use both systems in parallel. “I think we are the first that wants to remove the old system. Worse is cannot use the same card for car and public transport.” wrote the user.

In summary, most netizens in the discussion underscored the need for transparency, thoughtful planning, and consideration for all commuters in the decision-making process regarding public transport payment systems.

U-turn on SimplyGo transition; Transport Minister issues apology

Following public backlash, Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat has scrapped the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) original plan to shift to SimplyGo and replace older public transport payment cards.

Commuters expressed discontent with the proposed changes, prompting an apology from Minister Chee on 22 January for delays in converting existing EZ-Link cards, admitting better preparation could have prevented the issue.

To address concerns, LTA has updated the SimplyGo app and expedited the card conversion process.

Older EZ-Link and Nets FlashPay cards will remain valid, and their users won’t need to update them by 1 June.

An additional S$40 million investment was announced by Minister Chee to support continued use of these cards.

According to LTA, this investment is to be spent on hardware and maintenance of the system.

The current card-based ticketing system (CBT) storing transaction data on the cards will be extended for adult commuters, avoiding the planned sunset in 2024.

Details about the card exchange process will be disclosed by the end of February, minimizing inconvenience for passengers.

Concession card holders, including students and seniors, can revert to non-SimplyGo cards through the exchange.

Minister Chee has directed LTA to explore enhancements for account-based ticketing (ABT) cards, seeking solutions for displaying fare deductions and card balances at fare gates and bus card readers for newer cards.

While defending the advantages of ABT cards, Minister Chee emphasized their protection against loss, as the balance is stored in the user’s account.

He noted that around 40% of adult commuters now use bank cards or mobile wallets for public transport fares, highlighting the convenience and popularity of ABT cards.

Acknowledging the display delay for fare and card balance data on ABT cards, he drew parallels with systems in London and Hong Kong, where similar account-based transit cards do not show this information at fare gates.

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F Calvin Cheng! Arrogant Fker who always talk down to other people and think everyone should behave in the way that pleases him. Previously insulted hawkers who doesn’t accept digital payment. How did he get to be a Nominated MP in the first place? Because he por LP and someone powerful nominated him! Zero members of the public elected him, still act so arrogant! F U understand?!

Luckily you can type in English if you were to speak, I don’t think anyone would understand a word you said because of your oversized chompers.

Stupid Calvin cheng

Calvin Cheng is direct in asking the public to bear the $40m. Minister Chee Hong is being indirect to subtly add in this cost amount at the end of his apology, to tell the public because of their “noise” now there is an extra $40m cost, stopping short of saying the public will eventually bear in the near future. Both of them share the same trait of the ruling elite, which is to make the public bear. Not being able to be a smiling tiger shows why Calvin Cheng will never be invited for tea to be a MIW, which… Read more »

We all know our ministers do not wear their underwear over their pants (ie. not superman or wonderwoman. All these engineering jargons should be from those in LTA. Hence, do not think they know the operating details. However, many still think (and the ministers want us to think they are the one with all these ideas) ministers are the one coming up with these ideas. It is not, it is the minions in the ministries doing the job (albeit a bad job). And there are many fat cats and that is why lots of sloppy work.

Frivolous character making frivolous comments that don’t appeal at all, except designed to speak loudly to carry Big Balls, to common sense and the ordinary average public transport user.

He’s one of pappies doggies, a well-fed one.
A dog, some more a well-fed one always defends his master, rite?

Typical Singaporeans PAP dogs.

For a businessman, Calvin seems pretty stupid not to know that doing things right the first time is a mark of proper planning and careful considerations. Making a mess of an implementation and then having to pay more subsequently is a mark of Incompetent Idiots at work.

Calvin C will always be irrelevant, no matter how much favor he try to carriy.

What a free-rider loser this chap is!!!

A slave without a master is just a beggar.

If $40m is needed to maintain the present EZlink system, how much was spent on the SimplyGo system? Did LTA develop SimplyGo themselves or was the technology bought? What is the maintenance costs of the SimplyGo system and which company was it bought from?

I remember there was a bastard talking about Muslim kids as terrorists AND he got out of jail. His name was Cheng if I m not wrong

Calvin you are woefully woefully not cut for politics. WP LTK has had already called out PAP moons or ages ago for engaging in Flipping Prata.

And now u are GOING BACK to your time tunnel to support a flip flopping PAP – are u a Devil 👿?

Waste of time engaging with and talking about these people..
Calvin
Michael Petraeus
Ho Ching
Their opinions are theirs.
and they write in such a way just to draw attention away to themselves

Narcissistic

LTA already decided to revert – what the shit F is Calvin clamouring? Would he be thinking his wise defensive comments will revert a revert.

Come on Cheng you were a criminal before – no matter how much u are going to curry, you WILL NOT be inserted into PAP good books any more. Thick cock skin and carry many balls go no where.

CALVIN can LTA do away with Simply Go also can save money right.

Itemise the things which cost $40 million. Stop rumour mongering to frighten the sheep…….baa baa baa!

And please be honest in your statement!

I use contact less

More Vibrant .

, … … just another attention seeking wannabe, who desperately wants to be part of this money grabbing regime, … in any shape or form !!!

Plus, he misses the limelight and current day relevance, … and is prepared to stir the shit, any ‘ol shit, he’s not fussy at all, … to get coverage, which he has achieved !!!

In this weird wild world, some people just like to get fcuked every now and then by the public in order to feel “good”. We all know who that person is.
Stupidity have another level of meaning

Last edited 4 months ago by Singapore Fooled Again n Again

Calvin Cheng a mouthpiece of the Govt has always been criticising those at the other isles … The fact is Simply Go being requested by the Public especially when the old system serve the ppl well? Did the Ministers conduct a feedback whether we need another system?!? Nada, they just embark on it as a KPI for his portfolio. The new system has so much flaws while the old has been smooth so far and meeting ppl needs. No?!? Then what is this $40 million to maintain a system?!? Why the computer broke down?? Why need such high maintenance when… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Chresa Teo

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