SMRT tunnel flooding: 8 staff dismissed over falsification of maintenance records

SCDF personnel clearing the flooded Bishan-Braddell MRT tunnel on 7 October 2017. (PHOTO: SCDF)

Train operator SMRT has dismissed eight staff over falsification of maintenance records after it concluded an internal investigation into the flooding at the Bishan-Braddell tunnel last month.

The staff who were dismissed comprised one senior executive, two managers and five technical staff, SMRT said in a statement on Monday (27 November).

They were among the 13 current and former staff who were found responsible for the tunnel flooding that caused a shutdown of a part of the North-South Line over two days and affected some 250,000 commuters.

Two former SMRT staff – Vice President Tay Tien Seng and Senior Manager Ivan Kok – had failed to exercise sufficient supervision over the period when the falsification of maintenance records occurred. SMRT said it reserves the right to pursue legal action against them.

Another Vice President and two other management executives have also been disciplined for “failing to exercise the due care and diligence expected of them” over the maintenance of the pumps, SMRT said, without specifying the actions taken against them.

The staff responsible for the anti-flooding system did not maintain it for almost a year although it has to be serviced every three months.

SMRT said that it had made “critical personnel changes” including setting up a joint readiness inspection team and engaging independent experts to tighten and improve maintenance activities.

The conclusion of the disciplinary inquiry into the flooding incident comes after a series of other recent setbacks faced by the beleaguered operator. Apart from several train breakdowns, a collision involving two trains at Joo Koon station on 15 November caused 38 people to be injured.

In the wake of the collision, SMRT has scheduled reduced operating hours of 19 stations in the East-West Line and North-South Line in December in order to accelerate re-signalling works.