Thanks to The Online Citizen, Singaporeans have now discovered a resignation letter dated 2004 from a former veteran SMRT staff, which might shed light on why SMRT’s trains keep breaking down. The most recent incident, which took place last week Tuesday during evening rush hour, paralyzed the entire island as massive human and vehicle jams plagued MRT stations and roads.

Read the full letter:

“I would like to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to work here at SMRT for so many years, I have truly enjoyed my time here, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to stay on. I have always tried to do my best, even in the last year or so, and I wish that I could stay on until my retirement day. I had never wanted to leave the company, but unfortunately, in life, sometimes one is forced to make difficult decisions that have less to do with what one actually desires, and more to do with what one feels is necessary. In view of everything that I have heard, everything I have seen and everything that I have personally experienced in EPL (Escalators, Platform screen doors & Lifts) in the last three years or so, I cannot, with good conscience, continue to work here any more. I greatly fear if the current working practices continue, a serious incident may happen in future, and I have no desire to be a party for the occurrence.

I have compiled here a few examples of the problems plaguing EPL, problems that I believe have led to two other long-serving Assistant Engineers, XXX and XXX to resign before me. I have tried hard to change the system from within by raising issues to the EPL management that I think are important and should be looked into urgently, and I have tried to offer concrete suggestions on how to deal with some of these problems, but it appears to me that many of these problems were not, and are not, being dealt with seriously, if at all.

The apparent lack of interest in resolving problems by the EPL management have led to a serious fall in staff morale, with the inevitable drop in staff discipline as well, for verbal and even written letters of warning have been issued widely to many of the men. There also appears to be no consistency to the enforcement of disciplinary standard, for warning letters have been issued to some men for certain incidents, while no disciplinary action has been taken against some other staff for incidents of a similar nature. Orders are often issued verbally, with no follow-up memo, so that it becomes difficult for a staff member to check and clarify on any order he does not quite understand.

Often, when something goes wrong, the men have no way to defend themselves as there is no documentary evidence to back up their assertions.

We have even been ordered to alter reports to suit the EPL management’s view.

As the conditions that the EPL rank and file staff have to work under, it is no surprise that there have been so many resignations as the conditions I have outlined in the preceding few lines make it difficult for us to continue working here.

I have compiled this dossier here in the hope that the relevant authority will read it and hopefully come to understand the problems that have led to three long-servicing AEs to resign in the very short space of six months.

I hope the relevant authority will take this report seriously and look into the issues I have raised, for there are several; other EPL staff who have privately confided that they are seriously considering resigning should matters come to a head.

Please note that what I have expressed here are based upon my own experiences and observations, and that the opinions raised are entirely my own opinions, and that nothing I have written here is intended to cause any reflection on the organization or on any person.”

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