Facebook user Francis Chuang shared a picture of a baby being fed in the MRT station. The user claimed that the incident happened in the North-South Line and that the parents feeding the child were new citizens and originally from the People’s Republic of China.
Francis said that this was not acceptable, and asked those who saw his post to continue reposting it until SMRT took action against the parents. It is unclear why he chose to take pictures and not report the parents to the public transport operators.
SMRT had in the past clarified that eating and drinking feeding is not allowed in its trains.
In June 2010, a letter writer to The Straits Times forum page, Mrs Michelle Joan Fernandez, shared how a staff member of SMRT approached her mother who was feeding her baby and stopped her from doing so. Her child was 6 months old at that time. The SMRT staff told her that its “no drinking and eating” rule applied to everyone, including babies.
When her mother explained to the staff that the baby was crying and needed to be fed, the staff told her that if she continued to feed the child, she would have to get off the train and seek permission from the station master. Her mother was eventually forced to stop feeding the crying child.
To the FAQ ‘Can I eat and drink in trains and stations?’ on its website, SMRT replied:
“No, it is not permitted. In 1987, the Rapid Transit Systems (RTS) Act was established by Parliament and it was declared that no food or drink was to be consumed in MRT trains and stations. If you do, you will be issued a notification of offence which carries a fine of up to $500.”
The public transport operator further clarified tat rarents who want to feed (even breastfeed) their child can only do so within the station premises (not in the train) and only after permission is sought from the station staff.