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SMRT VP held responsible for tunnel flooding received $10,000 Govt scheme award two months before flooding

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The former vice-president that SMRT holds partially responsible for the Bishan tunnel flooding incident received a $10,000 monetary SkillsFuture award two months before the tunnel flooded on 7 Oct 2017, causing a 20-hour service disruption and inconveniencing a quarter of a million commuters.

The transport operator revealed in a media statement yesterday that 13 employees were found to be responsible for the tunnel flooding incident after an 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.

Besides sacking one senior executive, two managers and five technical staff over the incident, SMRT revealed yesterday that it reserves the right to pursue legal action against a vice-president and senior manager who apparently failed to sufficiently supervise works during the period that the pump maintenance records were falsified.

Curiously, the vice-president Tay Tien Seng and senior manager Ivan Kok had left the company before the investigations concluded. SMRT said:

“As they are no longer with the company, SMRT reserves its right to pursue legal action against them as may be appropriate.”
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Interestingly, the Vice-President that was flagged by SMRT was one of 27 recipients of the SkillsFuture fellowship in August 2017. The government scheme awarded a $10,000 monetary prize to Tay for skills mastery and mentorship.

According to a press release by the national movement, the SkillsFuture fellowship supports “Singaporeans who have displayed skills mastery in their respective fields as well as personal commitment to mentorship and the skills development of others.”

The award for a “personal commitment to mentorship” stands in stark contrast of SMRT’s claim that Tay had failed to sufficiently supervise his subordinates.

Chief Executive of SkillsFuture CEO, Ng Cher Pong, had said of the fellowship recipients at the time:

“I commend the recipients of the SkillsFuture Fellowships and the SkillsFuture Employer Awards for their commitment to lifelong learning and skills mastery. Not only are these individuals and employers inspiring role models in their respective fields and industries, they are also mentors who have looked beyond themselves to develop the skills of others.  Skills will continue to be the key enabler for economic transformation and to help individuals achieve their potential. I look forward to seeing more Singaporeans and employers embrace and celebrate skills mastery.”
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