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Calls for Desmond Quek to step down intensify as SMRT sacks 8 staff over tunnel flooding incident

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News that SMRT has dismissed eight staff members over their role in the Bishan tunnel flooding incident has not flown completely well with Singaporeans online.

The transport operator revealed in a media statement yesterday that 13 employees were found to be responsible for the tunnel flooding incident that occurred on 7 Oct, causing a 20-hour service disruption that inconvenienced a quarter of a million commuters.

A subsequent internal investigation shockingly revealed that a group of SMRT maintenance staff falsified paperwork that maintenance was done on a pump system at Bishan Depot when no work was carried out for almost an entire year.

Interestingly, no Committee of Inquiry was called after such an alarming revelation came to light.

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SMRT has instead decided to sack one senior executive, two managers and five technical staff over the incident. These employees comprise members of the team who falsified pump maintenance records, and the superiors who were in charge of ensuring works were being carried out during that period.

The transport operator also revealed yesterday that it reserves the right to pursue legal action against a vice-president and senior manager who were supposed to have supervised works during that period.

The following comment SMRT made on pursuing legal action against vice-president Tay Tien Seng and senior manager Ivan Kok make it clear that these two individuals are former employees of the company, although the circumstances under which they left the organisation remain shrouded in mystery:

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

Besides this, SMRT has asserted that three other management executives have been disciplined for failing to exercise due diligence in ensuring the maintenance of the pumps. It added:

“Learning from this incident, SMRT has strengthened its maintenance processes and supervisory checks. We have made critical personnel changes to the management and maintenance team.”

Netizens, however, have remained unimpressed with SMRT’s actions and have expressed concerns that the eight staff members who were dismissed are being used as scapegoats to shield the top brass of SMRT:

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