MRT Tunnel Flooding: SMRT Ponders Legal Action against Senior Executives Following Sacking of 8 Staff

SMRT has sacked 8 staff – 1 senior executive, 2 managers and 5 technical staff – blamed for the Oct 7 flooding of the Bishan MRT station tunnel which disrupted train services for 21 hours.

This comes as the transport operator concluded its internal investigation and disciplinary inquiry into the incident.

SMRT says it may pursue legal action against former vice president Tay Tien Seng and senior manager Ivan Kok, claiming both men had “failed to exercise sufficient supervision during the period when the falsification of the pump maintenance records occurred”.

Tay and Kok left SMRT prior to the conclusion of the disciplinary inquiry, and SMRT says it “reserves its right to pursue legal action against them as may be appropriate”.

What’s surprising is Tay had just been awarded the a SkillsFuture fellowship in August – an award given to “exemplary Singaporeans and employers”, recognising their “skills mastery in their respective fields as well as personal commitment to mentorship and the skills development of others”.

Sacked: 1 senior executive, 2 managers, 5 technical staff
Demoted: 1 vice president
Resigned but face possible legal action: 1 vice president, 1 senior manager
Disciplinary action (unknown): 2 senior management executives

Investigations following the Oct 7 incident showed that the flood was a result of the lack of maintenance of the Bishan portal sump pump system.

Maintenance records were discovered to have been submitted and signed off despite work not being done for close to a year.

In all, 13 staff were responsible for the incident flooding incident.

Another three management executives, including a vice president, were disciplined according to SMRT’s internal disciplinary framework for “failing to exercise the due care and diligence expected of them in relation to the maintenance of the pumps”.



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