In two separate written answer in the 13th Parliamentary Session, the Minister for Manpower, Mr Lim Swee Say, and the Minister for Transport Mr Khaw Boon Wan, both responding to MPs questions concerning the fatal accident near Pasir Ris MRT station on 22 March 2016, would not revealed whether SMRT had answered the questions by the Ministries on the sacking of its two employees involved in the accident.
The Minister for Transport stated that it would be better to wait till the SMRT Appeal Panel investigations – which has been in the move since 26 September this year – come to some conclusions.
Mr Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap, Member of Parliament of Aljunied GRC, had asked the Minister for Manpower:
- Whether the Ministry has asked SMRT for the full grounds for dismissal of the two employees who have been sacked over the fatal accident on 22 March 2016 near Pasir Ris MRT station, and,
- if so, what were these grounds.
Minister for Manpower, Mr Lim Swee Say, responding in writing, reiterated that on 22 March 2016, two SMRT trainees were hit and killed by an oncoming train near Pasir Ris MRT station. On 13 September, SMRT dismissed two employees who were involved in the accident – one of the employees was the train driver, and the other was an assistant engineer.
The National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) filed an appeal to SMRT on 19 September to help the two employees, and in response, SMRT convened a panel to review the appeal. On 27 September, NTWU also filed an appeal to MOM under the Industrial Relations Act (IRA), on behalf of the two union members, the Minister wrote.
And then Mr Lim wrote that MOM had called for information on the grounds of dismissal from SMRT, but no information whether the train operator company has answered or not.
Mr Lim added that MOM will try to help the parties involved to come to an amicable settlement through conciliation, and if it fails, an inquiry will be conducted to determine if the company has just cause to dismiss the workers.
In the meantime, the union is engaging the two workers and is helping to secure employment for them.
In a separate question, Mr Yee Chia Hsing (Chua Chu Kang GRC) had asked the Minister for Transport with regard to the same Pasir Ris MRT train incident:
- Whether it is premature for SMRT to take disciplinary action against staff before the conclusion of investigations and the coroner’s inquiry.
The Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan in a written response to Mr Yee’s question, stated that it is SMRT’s prerogative to take disciplinary action against its staff in accordance with its established procedures.
Mr Khaw added that investigations by the Land Transport Authority, the Ministry of Manpower and Police are still on-going. An argument can therefore be made that in this case it would have been better to wait till these investigations come to some conclusions.
“I note that NTWU has lodged an appeal on behalf of the two staff, and SMRT has convened an Appeal Panel to review the case. I am sure that the Panel will give full consideration to all the relevant factors, and reach a fair decision,” Mr Khaw wrote. Until this report is written, there is no further news on the development of the issue.