On Sunday night, all 3 lifts broke down at a 33-storey Woodlands HDB block.

Two days later, all 4 lifts broke down at a 40-storey HDB block in Dover Cresent.

A resident of the affected block in Dover Cresent told CNA that there had been issues with the lifts since more than 5 years ago. It is believed that the lifts under Halimah Yacob’s town council had also previously malfunctioned.

It appears the government has constructed higher buildings on the assumption that nothing would go wrong. Contingency plans were not needed as problems would be solved only when they arises, similar to MRT breakdowns. Good planning? What would have happened if there was an emergency on the 30th or 40th floor?

Town councils should not have compromised on quality and safety by awarding contracts to the lowest bidder. By putting in a low bid, contractors would need to find ways and means to increase their profits by hiring ‘qualified’ foreign workers and using ‘Made in China’ materials.

Once the job has been outsourced, town councils are basically bochap and rely on contractors to do the job. Contractors then leave the workers to complete the job with almost no supervision.

The lift issue is now a national problem and the government should conduct a detailed audit of all lifts. Were they even properly installed by foreign workers hired by contractors? Or did these workers follow manuals used in their countries? Were inferior materials used?

Lifts are not easily damaged and when they are, it is usually by renovation contractors. When it comes to condominiums, contractors are required to protect the lift interior prior to carrying out renovation works in any condominium unit. But where public housing is concerned, the town council is not even bothered about lifts being damaged. Proper oversight is an issue to be addressed.

PAP needs an urgent mindset change and cannot continue to ignore proper maintenance just because it does not generate any profit.

Hopefully we do not have to wake up one day to this headline – “All 400 lifts in a housing estate hit by power outage”.

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