8 SMRT staff fired for Bishan MRT tunnel flooding incident

8 SMRT staff fired for Bishan MRT tunnel flooding incident

smrt train in flooded tunnel
An SMRT train in a flooded MRT tunnel, in a photo widely circulated on social media. 

SINGAPORE: SMRT has dismissed eight staff for the Bishan tunnel flooding incident, it said on Monday (Nov 27).

Thirteen employees were found to be responsible after it completed its internal investigation and disciplinary inquiry into the staff who were tasked with pump maintenance at the Bishan-Braddell tunnel, SMRT said in a media statement.

Of these, one senior executive, two managers and five technical staff were dismissed. They comprise the members of the work team who falsified pump maintenance records, and the managers and senior executive who were in charge of ensuring that pump maintenance was carried out during the period. 

Train service was disrupted for about 20 hours after the tunnel flooded on Oct 7 after heavy rain. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan earlier said that the pumps in the tunnel had not been maintained for many months but quarterly maintenance records were  signed off and submitted up to June this year.

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

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

Three other management executives, including a vice president, have also been disciplined for failing to exercise the due care and diligence expected of them for the maintenance of the pumps.

"Learning from this incident, SMRT has strengthened its maintenance processes and supervisory checks," the public transport operator said. "We have made critical personnel changes to the management and maintenance team."

In a statement Mr Melvin Yong, executive secretary of the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU), said it would 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," the statement added. "We will assist them to find alternative employment and where necessary, provide financial assistance."

Source: CNA/hm