SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Tuesday (Oct 31) that it will independently evaluate findings by SMRT on the suspected falsification of maintenance records.
This was after the train operator revealed that the maintenance team in charge of a water pump system at Bishan MRT station had signed off on works that were not done.
Because the pump system was poorly maintained, there was flooding along a stretch of the North-South Line tunnel on Oct 7. Torrential rainwater had seeped in at Bishan station, forcing SMRT to cut off trackside power supply as a precaution, disrupting train services for an unprecedented 20 hours.
LTA said it is "deeply concerned" by SMRT's findings. It added: "LTA is carrying out a full investigation into the incident and will make its recommendation on the penalties to the LTA Board in due time.
As the regulator, the Land Transport Authority views breaches of all rail operating licences seriously."
LTA also said that it will strengthen checks on SMRT's maintenance audit and inspection regime. Together with SMRT, it will set up an independent Joint Readiness Inspection Team that will report to a joint committee that oversees maintenance and asset renewal.
The manager and staff responsible for the maintenance of the Bishan anti-flood system, known as the portal sump pump system, have been suspended and are assisting in the investigations, said SMRT in its media statement earlier on Tuesday.
In response, the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) said it will ensure that any disciplinary action taken by SMRT against its workers would follow due process, and is fair and appropriate.
It also urged SMRT to put training for its workers as one of its top priorities.
The transport union added: "NTWU recognises that there are many other SMRT workers who have been working conscientiously to ensure that train operations and train maintenance work are done properly, and calls for their efforts to be recognised accordingly."