Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has issued a statement condemning the dismissal of two staff by SMRT Corporation who is said to be involved in the train accident in March this year. The accident claimed the lives of two other SMRT employees when they went onto the tracks due to their on-the-job training.

Straits Times published a story about how the train driver involved in the March accident, was dismissed by SMRT after being called to the office on Tuesday.

SDP pointed out that in contrast with SMRT’s dismissal of the two staff, disciplinary action was taken against staff members in the case of the Hepatitis-C outbreak , only after the inquiry was completed.

SDP asks if the Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan support the decision to dismiss the train driver and that he should demand an explanation from the SMRT why it made the premature decision to fire the employees.

The full statement by SDP below

The SMRT’s decision to sack two of its employees over the deaths of Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari and Nasrulhudin Najumudin earlier this year raises serious questions.

The first is that the dismissals have taken place before official investigations are completed. Even the victims’ families have questioned such a move.

Contrast this with Hepatitis-C outbreak in 2015. In that case, disciplinary action was taken against 12 staff members in “leadership positions” at the Singapore General Hospital. The Ministry of Health (MOH) also disciplined four MOH officers holding “director-level or equivalent roles” over the incident which resulted in eight deaths and 22 infections with the virus.

The sanctions, ranging from warnings to financial penalties, were meted out only after an inquiry into the saga was completed.

In the present SMRT case, however, even before the inquiry is completed, the SMRT had no qualms in sacking two of its employees.

Second, one of those fired was named by the Straits Times.

In the Hepatitis-C case, Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said that the government did not want to create a “blame culture” by revealing the names of these senior staff members even though they were found to be culpable of “failure to intervene early” over the outbreak.

How did the Straits Times obtain the identity of the SMRT driver who was sacked and why was it reported? Whatever happened to the no-blame culture the PAP adopted which protected those in the Hepatitis-C debacle? Why is it applicable only to the senior administrators but not to the SMRT train driver?

Third, by taking action against some of its staff in such a manner, the SMRT may be unjustifiably absolving its other staff members – especially those at the highest levels – of any responsibility over the mishap. Such an approach is reminiscent of the Mas Selamat incident where junior officers were blamed and those at the very top got away scot-free.

Fourth, does the Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan support the decision to dismiss the train driver? If he does, he needs to explain why. If he does not, he needs to instruct the SMRT to do the right thing by reinstating the positions of those sacked, pending the completion of official investigations. In the meantime, he should demand an explanation from the SMRT why it made the premature decision to fire the employees.

When SDP CEC Member Mr Jufrie Mahmood met and questioned Mr Khaw at the funeral of one of the victims of the track accident, the Minister promised that he would leave no stone unturned in the course of the investigations. A good place to start would be the SMRT’s unilateral and non-transparent actions over the sackings.

How the PAP and the establishment handles this incident will be a grave test of how it views justice in our society.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

PV’s Lim Tean urges S’poreans to not give in to PAP’s “fear-mongering” during GE

During the Peoples Voice (PV) Facebook Live broadcast hosted by Lim Tean…

Snakes, sacrifice and snatching victory from Ridout controversy

In a recent Parliamentary session, the People’s Action Party (PAP) deflected allegations of conflict of interest regarding ministers’ rental of Ridout estates. Augustine Low opines on how PAP, through strategic responses, turned controversy into victory, demonstrating their adherence to stringent standards of integrity and propriety and closing the case.

Singapore policies force some onto streets

Al Jazeera reports on the homelessness issue in Singapore. Singapore is a…

The PAP – A victim of its own success

~by: Ghui~ In the 60s and 70s, we believed wholeheartedly in the…