Did SMRT audit maintenance works? Outraged Singaporeans question how falsified paperwork was not detected for almost a year

Poorly maintained Bishan Depot storm water pit

Singaporeans have expressed outrage online over news that SMRT staff falsified paperwork that maintenance was done on a pump system at Bishan Depot when no work was carried out for almost one year.

This revelation was made as SMRT released yesterday the preliminary findings of its investigation into a major service breakdown on 7 Oct, when Bishan MRT station was flooded due to a heavy downpour causing services on the North-South Line to be shut down for over 20 hours.

The investigation uncovered that a staff team, which was supposed to conduct maintenance works for the pump system every three months, had not done any work since December last year. The lapse was discovered when the probe showed that there were no track access approvals granted for the maintenance of the pumps in December 2016, March 2017 and June 2017 – dates when the crew claimed and recorded that they had conducted maintenance. Pump records showed that the pumps were also not activated on the dates that the crew claimed to have done work, as well.

The transport operator has since suspended the manager and staff members in the maintenance team, pending further investigations.

Singaporeans responding to the news online have asked whether maintenance works on rail infrastructure are even audited by SMRT.

Netizens asked online: if works are audited, why wasn’t the records falsification detected earlier?

Others expressed serious concerns that this incident may just be the tip of the iceberg of such issues within SMRT, where records can be falsified and systems are not checked until it is far too late:

SMRT Corporation chairman Seah Moon Ming asserted yesterday:

“SMRT has zero tolerance for failures in supervision and diligence over maintenance tasks. We do not condone any acts of dishonesty and dereliction of responsibility, whether by management or staff. All who are accountable will be disciplined sternly, regardless of rank and position. Accordingly, the relevant Management chain of command in SMRT must be held accountable.”

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) added that it was “deeply concerned” by SMRT’s findings. Asserting that it will “independently evaluate SMRT’s investigation findings on the suspected falsification of maintenance records,” it said:

“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.”

LTA stressed that rail operating licence breaches are viewed seriously, including breaches related to the maintenance of the rail operating assets.

SMRT: Staff falsified records that maintenance was done at Bishan depot when no work was carried out for almost 1 year


  1. The system created by Elites strongly discriminate lower rank. If you dont have paper , your hard work wont take you far. Many of this technical guys are hands on type. Their critical role is not appreciated. I blame this Elitist govt for this problem.

    • True to every letter. They plan and the technical guys do the work. They get credit but when things go wrong . . .technical guys get it! This is called ‘dispensable”.

    • I disagree. Technical guys on the ground knew about the situation. They should have spoken out and expose the issue to the public. By keeping quiet, they are complicit.

    • In addition, experienced and expensive engineers were made to resign so that compliant cheap FT engineers with no ownership or responsibility are employed just to WAYANG in submitting WAYANG reports and inspection forms. Why the supervisors or top guys did not scrutinize the works until it screwed up? YES, BLOODY TIDAK APA ATTITUDE, WANT THE MILLIONS $$$ SALARY BUT NOT THE WORKS.

  2. They better check ALL other critical systems like fire detection/protection or CCTV monitoring/security systems to see if they are properly maintained or not… This means all their staff cannot be trusted to do the work!

  3. Somebody with no experience can already suka suka parachute in to become CEO liao you still expect things to be done properly? Still expect checks and audits?


  4. A mockery of the whole Maintenance Team and System. ..what a JOKE…Documents signed without the work being done. Whose Fault…from the Top right down to the bottom. All involved got to charged for False documentation and cheating…bcos they got paid for a job not done. How can this whole Episode go without any Supervision. What type of System. ..there are no Supervisor. ..no Incharge. This is the Mother of all Jokes in the history of SMRT..

  5. Whomever designed the maintenance algorithm must be dumb. How can something as crucial as these pumps are ( assuming that they are crucial la) that there is no technical trigger to a central system to double confirm that maintenance has indeed been done. Not just rely solely on human beings “to sign off”. Unbelievable

  6. The entire government, civil service and GLCs is one mighty lazy corporation. Abject failure, lack of accountability, catastrophic incompetence, absence of leadership, dumb ex-uniform men, and arrogance are distinct values these overpaid muppets have made of a country steeped in economic decline.

  7. …this borders on the criminal. This is a public amenity that could cost lives if a serious accident should occur because of negligence. Who takes responsibility then? Remember the Hep C fiasco with SGH or the dental incident in National dental centre?…we are racing to the bottom and those with the power just pretend they didn’t see it.

  8. Remember when Orchard rd flooded….the ponding problem….it was dicovered that the drains were blocked and not cleaned as required in the contract.
    Again no checks…looks like its a culture …..wtf

  9. Sinkies are cowards, me included. Who dare to be silly like Roy Ngerng, petite nyonya and the opposition kamakaze team. When we stood silently when these brave people are sliced apart. Now Chan Chun Seng boldly parade his claim to be next PM. That mock EP selection was just a test run. We just swallow it. Not a pip. Meanwhile the hammer that LKY used to attack his opponents – corruption, may be the weeds are spawning the entire garden city. Right now they say only it is only the lowly small frys.

  10. Falsification of safety and warranty documents where you affirmed something which was never carried out which could potentially harm lives is fraud. Those involved need to be arrested if possible. This is white collar crime.

  11. If this happens in SIA, what will happen to the planes when they are flying in the air? If something happens to the plane, the CEO definitely is responsible. What do you think?

  12. These days seem like Singapore is creating the culture of ownself check ownself, some ownself pay ownself handsomely … got credits ownself take, got failures push to those on the ground.

  13. Please leh… smrt bullshit also got people believe… how to so easy falsify such records… and even more so what is there to gain for the maintenance department when they falsify such records…

  14. Ownself check ownself,
    Ownself survey ownself,
    Ownself investigate ownself
    Ownself cheque ownself,
    This is Singapore government now ..
    Look at all government departments you will know how they work now ..
    When question ask , no answer ..
    You can only apply online, ask why reject, they will not give you a definite answer..

    • Including Tai Chi… Wil redirect you to some other counters with no answers as well. Other counters will redirect you back to the former counter. When asked why, the in charge will say the staff is new!

  15. Plain and simple, the top management don’t give 2 hoots about the lower ranking staffs eg TOs, Technicians etc the best perks are still with the TOP guys eg Department DD, VP, Snr Managers etc. Huge salary increments and Big bonuses goes to them

    after all. So feeling demotivated why would the lower ranked staffs be showing so much concern on the maintenance?? Likewise they will give 2 hoots about it.

  16. What’s the difference between that and having some clown general who has no experience and is so incompetent he can’t even solve any bloody problems whilst collecting millions??? It’s all a bloody fraud!!

  17. Surely train drivers or technician have reported about the serious water ? ….

    seriously could have been numerous death if those water flooding run out of control ?

  18. Thousand of life travelling in our MRT and yet what we see is the profit and not the consequences of others safety and thousand of lifes every day.

    Is this what our G systems apply across all Public Tpt system?

    Was there any air bag in a our Taxi vehicles (period) ?

    This have been long overdue when others life is not life. Only money is what they are concerns in most Public corporations. (Period).

    Fm ;- Suck thumbs citizens.

  19. In my line of work, I seen a lot of wayang by the people below the MP or minister. There was this instance where a minister is coming to visit a site under construction. Of course the site is given a clean up with all the safety measure in place just to sdhow la of course. Than the RTo instruct the contractro to buy potted plant to line up the office and the entrance. Whatever the freak for . My client ask the RTO to sign the vairation order aas it is not part of his contract but safety is. Show has show KBW on a train, but never on a train that has the system disruppted or having train or signal fault. So to him, no fault mah. There is a set of rule for everything, but if the ground people do not follow, than it is up to the management to audit and act on it. Many CEO of multi national co-operation has been replace before why not SMRT is the question?

  20. As an Internal Auditor myself.It is a corporate standard if not an Industry standard in terms of HSE and QA/ISM to have a yearly test of pumps that should be able to work/machinery that can propel the method and people who are gradually or periodically involved in ensuring this process runs seamlessly.This would also accord the management as they would need to review the audit findings in any non conformity of the standards or also ensuring that observational gaps are addressed.Shame on you SMRT.

  21. All these WHITE TERMITES. Look at the sulky ‘F’ face Lion Queen Indranee, trying so hard to put on a sick smile whilst with Prince Charles on his walk about. It must have taken alot of her muscles to put on a smile which wasn’t a smile at all!.

    How the fak the cabinet was so faking stupid to made her show him around!.

  22. Only uninformed will blame auditors for such oversights! Only the company senior executives and operational management are wholly responsible for these oversights. Desmond n the board were just enjoying their pay cheques and passing their ‘responsibilities’ to junior staff. Minister of Transport and LTA are merely finding excuses rather than taking actions or holding themselves responsible for the lack of independent checks of operational key areas of our public transport systems. I like Minister Khaw statement over 4 years the problems had reduced, he must inhaling some sort of gas!

  23. The buck stops at the CEO. Being paid so much, much is expected of you. If you cannot perform please get the hell out of there. Stop embarrassing yourself, your superiors, your family and your associates!!!!!

  24. Was the work contracted to a lowest bidder? In many cases, the contractor simply quote to get the job. If they really carry out the works, they would have made losses. Who is to blame when they always go for the lowest bid and yet neglect to check on the ground. Is SMRT the only one like this in SG?

  25. Audits are conducted on the regular basis to ensure the organization consistency on their operation and conduct as well as transparency to prevent corruption and misappropriate of funds which I highly recommended to be enforced to our current parliament aka PAP down from every single cents .
    This is only one count of falsified documentation , how would we know behind this allegation , how many more are there currently on going ?
    Do you people serious think by giving members of the government a high salary , they will be satisfy and not be tempted if stacks of cash are to present before their eyes ? No way .. we ain’t saints and either ways , we will still be tempted to bribes therefore the objective of high salary vs prevention of corruption is mainly a gimmick excuse to trick the naive Singaporeans to believe that humans can be free from bribes , fact is … You just haven’t name the right price , that’s all .
    Rules and regulations are set at place to keep Singaporeans in place , then who or which are there to keep these highly paid incompetence in check ?
    We should have a third party auditing agency in random to take turns to conduct surprise audit for the nation accounts …..

  26. Please don’t blame the maintenance team. Blame the leaders. As an employee how do you feel when your boss not the owner is paid no less than $5,000 a day when you have dirty your hands for less than $150 a day? Would you not be resentful? You would ask why these motherfuckers are being paid so astronomical and you feel real cheated. This is the culture that is going on. A resentment that has to be corrected. The CEO has to go.

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