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Singapore

Lawyer M Ravi discharged from lawsuit against SBS Transit after embarrassing behaviour at trial, says client

SINGAPORE: Lawyer M Ravi was discharged from a former bus driver's lawsuit against transport operator SBS Transit after his embarrassing behaviour during the first day of trial, his client said.  

"We were very embarrassed by M Ravi's behaviour towards Justice Audrey Lim and opposing counsel Mr Davinder Singh after the trial started," said Mr Chua Qwong Meng in a press release sent to CNA on Tuesday (Nov 23). 

The first day of trial began on Monday via video conferencing.

On Monday, Mr Ravi said that he and Mr Chua would both be “discharging” themselves from the case

Mr Chua, who worked for SBS Transit from April 2017 to early 2020, claims that SBS Transit breached the Employment Act by not giving him a rest day each week and that he was also underpaid for overtime work.

He commenced his suit against SBS Transit in September 2019. Although the case was mounted by Mr Chua, another 12 drivers are linked to it, with Mr Chua claiming that about S$720,000 is involved in the allegations of all 13 suits. 

Mr Ravi was representing Mr Chua and the other 12 bus drivers, while SBS Transit was represented by a team of lawyers led by Senior Counsel Mr Singh.

In his statement, Mr Chua said that he and the other drivers "do not condone M Ravi's behaviour at all". 

"What he displayed yesterday was a total shock to us, who had put our trust in him," Mr Chua wrote. "He has let us down very badly and hurt our case immeasurably." 

During Monday's trial, Mr Ravi had referred to Mr Singh as a “clown” while discussing issues related to a witness. 

"There was absolutely no excuse or justification for M Ravi to call Mr Singh a 'clown'," said Mr Chua.

According to Mr Chua, Mr Ravi has been paid more than S$55,000 which was raised through donations from the public. 

"There was no truth whatsoever to M Ravi's allegation, which he made yesterday that we have no faith in the Singapore judicial system, and that we do not intend to proceed with the case," said Mr Chua.  

"We have every intention to proceed with the litigation," said Mr Chua. "We shall now look for a competent lawyer to represent us in the proceedings."

Lawyer M Ravi with some of the SBS bus drivers in the lawsuit. (Photo: Facebook/Ravi MRavi)

On Monday, Mr Ravi said he intended to file a case before the International Court of Justice, and planned to approach the Malaysian government for assistance as most of the bus drivers involved are Malaysian.

He added that the drivers had contacted a “Mahathir”, although it was unclear whether this was in reference to former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 

In March last year, it was agreed that Mr Chua's case would be heard as a test case, with the other 12 suits held in abeyance pending the determination of his case.

In June this year, Justice Lim granted Mr Chua's request to have his case heard in the High Court, stating that it affected not only Mr Chua but a larger class of employees including those in the public transport sector. 

Source: CNA/ad(rw)

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