SMRT sacks 8 staff, holds 5 others responsible for falsification of anti-flooding system maintenance records

In a statement issued by SMRT, it said that 13 employees have been held responsible following a probe by the rail operator into the falsification of maintenance records of an anti-flooding system at the Bishan station. 

The probe comes in light of a flood in the train tunnel at Bishan MRT Station, which crippled part of the North -South Line (NSL) on Oct 7 and Oct 8.

As a result, eight staff were sacked, three others subjected to undisclosed disciplinary actions, while two resigned. 

Among those 13 were several who held senior managerial positions. 

The personnel who were sacked comprised five technical staff from the work team who had falsified pump maintenance records, as well as two managers and a senior executive in charge of ensuring that maintenance was carried out.

The two employees who resigned had done so after the flooding. 

Investigations revealed that vice-president Tay Tien Seng and senior manager Ivan Kok had failed to exercise sufficient supervision during the period when the falsification of the pump maintenance records occurred.

SMRT also said that it reserved the right to pursue legal action against the two:

“As they are no longer with the company, SMRT reserves its right to pursue legal action against them as may be appropriate.”

Investigators have not found out why the pumps and related switches failed, as individual components were in proper working order immediately after the incident. 

However, they concluded that the crew responsible for the maintenance of the system had not done so for nearly a year.

The system is supposed to be serviced every quarter. 

The company also said that three staff in managerial positions, including a vice-president, have been disciplined based on its internal disciplinary framework for ‘failing to exercise the due care and diligence expected of them in relation to the maintenance of the pumps”.

According to The Straits Times, the vice-president is Mr Ng Tek Poo, who was demoted. 

In response to SMRT's actions, the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) issued a statement saying that it ‘does not condone any action or inaction by workers that could cause harm to fellow workers and commuters or damage the operations of our public transport system”.

The executive secretary of NTUW, Melvin Yong added:

“NTWU will support disciplinary actions executed by SMRT that are fairly and consistently applied to all workers concerned.

“On our part, NTWU is in contact with affected union members. 

"We will assist them to find alternative employment and, where necessary, provide financial assistance."