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SDP calls for MND to give a full account of lift mishaps

In a media statement issued by Mr John Tan, Vice-Chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), the party calls for the Ministry of National Development to give a full account of lift mishaps at HDB blocks.

The party notes that even after Deputy Prime Minister, Tharman's promise to improve lift safety in response to a lift incident where an elderly woman's hand was severed, there still have been lift malfunctions which have led to injuries and even one death.

It calls on the MND to take immediate steps to prevent further mishaps from occurring and publish a full account of the jobs done in the areas of maintenance and repairs of lifts in Singapore.

Below is the full statement by SDP

The SDP notes with concern the recent spate of lift malfunctions at HDB blocks which have led to injuries and even one death. The incidents which happened recently include:

  • 14 October 2015, Jurong: A lift door jammed, causing the hand of an 85-year-old woman to be severed.
  • 23 January 2016, Punggol: The doors of the lift remained open as the elevator moved.
  • 6 March 2016, Ang Mo Kio: A lift shot up 17 floors when the lift-brakes malfunctioned, trapping a passenger inside for one-and-a-half hours.
  • 15 May 2016, Pasir Ris: A lift jammed when the doors opened, leaving a gap that caused a wheelchair-bound elderly passenger to fall and die.
  • 7 June 2016, Bukit Panjang: A lift bounced up and down like a yo-yo, going down from the 9th to the 1st floor, shooting up to the 11th, plunging back down to the 3rd and finally going back up to the 12th. It left a 59-year old woman's spine fractured.
  • 10 June 2016, Sengkang: A lift jerked to a sudden halt and then plunged a couple of floors before coming to a complete stop.

When the Jurong incident happened in October last year where an elderly passenger's hand was cut off, DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is the MP for the area, called for safety standards in lifts to be raised.

He wanted a strong system of auditing for regular checks on lifts by maintenance contractors. "We need (a) culture of going for zero accidents...particularly when it comes to lifts," he added.

It has been more than half-a-year since the Jurong mishap and lift-safety is obviously still not resolved. These problems have resulted in injuries and even a death.

This is despite Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong's assurance in March this year that his Ministry “cannot compromise on safety”.

Why did it take so long for Mr Wong to tell the public of the measures his Ministry was taking to resolve the problem? Could more stringent and urgent steps have been taken? Could the injuries and death have been prevented?

The SDP calls on the MND to take immediate steps to prevent further mishaps from occurring. The Ministry should also publish a full account of the jobs done in the areas of maintenance and repairs of lifts throughout the island without further delay. The report should include the names of the manufacturers of the lifts and their countries of origin.