Singapore

SMRT chief rallies team to learn from maintenance lapse

SMRT group chief executive Desmond Kuek, in an e-mail to staff yesterday, rallied them to take the lessons from the recent tunnel flooding incident seriously and to emerge "stronger and better".

"This will be a crucial new beginning for SMRT if we commit ourselves to a culture of discipline and excellence in providing safe, reliable, commuter-focused public transport services that Singaporeans can be proud of," he wrote in the circular titled Resolve To Do What's Right.

This came a day after the rail operator's standards were called into question during a two-hour Parliament session to address last month's MRT tunnel flooding. Mr Kuek attended the session with SMRT chairman Seah Moon Ming and SMRT Trains chief executive Lee Ling Wee.

Mr Kuek said that Tuesday - which marked the 30th year of MRT operations - should have been a celebration.

"Instead, we were awash in collective shame because a few of our staff had let us down," he said, alluding to the workers who failed to maintain flood-prevention measures at Bishan. The lapse resulted in the tunnel flooding and disrupted train services on a stretch of the North-South Line for about 20 hours.

Mr Kuek urged staff to resolve to do better.

Political observer Eugene Tan said Mr Kuek's message was "timely and needed". 

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