Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak said on Tuesday that all incidents related to the operation of the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) will be “uniformly” reported to the media by the government-owned LRT operator from now on, except for those involving “serious chaos”, resulting in casualties or requiring emergency evacuations of passengers, in which case both the Fire Services Bureau (CB) and the LRT operator will inform the media of the incidents.
The policy secretary, who was reappointed last month, said that in a meeting convened by Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng on Saturday and attended by the government’s five policy secretaries, he and Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário reached a consensus on the new way the Fire Services Bureau (CB) and the LRT operator should notify the media of any LRT incidents. Rosário is the other of the two policy secretaries who were reappointed last month. Three policy secretaries left the government.
Wong made the remarks while speaking to reporters at the local prison in Coloane on the sidelines of its annual Chinese New Year celebration for its inmates. The four- day celebratory event organised by the Correctional Services Bureau (DSC) in conjunction with Caritas Macau will end on Friday.
Since its operational start on December 10, the LRT has been hit by three technical failures. The latest incident, which happened on December 29, is regarded as the most serious one so far. According to a statement by the operator on that day, there was an electricity supply issue between the Cotai West Station and the Lotus Checkpoint Station at around 1 p.m., because of which the service between the Ocean Station – the western terminus of the Taipa section – and the Cotai West Station was suspended and resumed at 2:35 p.m.
According to local media reports, after receiving a report about the third LRT incident, the Fire Services Bureau did not notify the media of the incident and only confirmed to the media later that day that it received a report at around 1.30 p.m. on that day that passengers had been trapped in the LRT train, one of whom was reported to be unwell. When firemen arrived at the scene three minutes later, they conducted a health check on the passenger who did not appear to be in a serious condition and was given a clean bill of health.
According to local media reports, passengers had to get off the train, which suddenly stopped between the Cotai West Station and the Lotus Checkpoint Station, and walk along the track in order to get to the nearest station with the assistance of LRT staff.
In a statement on December 31, the Fire Services Bureau explained why it did not notify the media of the LRT incident on December 29. The statement said that only one passenger was reported to be unwell, and after basic treatment by the bureau’s paramedics, the passenger, a senior citizen, told them that he was all right and did not need to be taken to hospital. The statement said that there are numerous cases in which people say they feel unwell every day, adding that under its mechanism on informing the media, it does not notify the media of such kinds of incidents.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Wong on Tuesday reiterated the bureau’s explanation on December 31 about its mechanism for informing the media. Wong noted that there are 120 cases on average every day in Macau that require the Fire Services Bureau to deploy its personnel to handle the situation.