Sent: Friday, October 25, 2013 10:41 AM
To: LUI TUCK YEW
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Subject: 20131025 SMRT’s protocol for passenger abuse – wait and see?
Dear Minister Lui
I refer to the online video of an SMRT lady commuter being verbally abused and spat on her face by a male commuter. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151679611990248
A security officer and 2 SMRT staff were seen standing by watching the lady being verbally abused by the aggressive male abuser. Even after he had spat on her face, no assistance was rendered to prevent the man from repeating the act.
All the 3 SMRT staff appeared shocked and simply looked on. SMRT seriously needs to look into its staff training.
Question – if the SMRT cannot even handle such a simple situation, is one to expect an emergency to be handled well?
SMRT Facebook statement: “While waiting for the authorities to arrive, our security staff made a judgement call to intervene and to guide the aggressor away.” https://www.facebook.com/SMRTCorpSG/posts/653508431337056
SMRT has clearly not viewed the video and hastily issued a misleading statement to put itself in good light. The staff should have intervened before the repeated abuse, not after.
SMRT then proceeded with this daft statement: “…we would like to remind commuters to remain gracious and polite while in queue.” Where is the common sense in the statement? If CEO Kuek Bak Chye and SMRT’s senior management even remotely think such a reminder helps, they should perhaps go talk to the man and others with anger management issues.
SMRT: “We would like to remind all passengers to be courteous, and that inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated and will be reported.” This confirms the SMRT has no protocol to protect and prevent passengers from abuse. Your ministry must not condone SMRT’s inaction which will allow every incident to escalate to the point of the police being called in.
The involvement of the police and the court in this case was clearly preventable. That the police has taken action and the aggressor will be charged in court today does not absolve SMRT of its responsibility.
Tens of thousands of Singaporeans have already seen this video online. Does the SMRT think it can take the public for a ride with the above statements?
Public transport commuters must not be at the receiving end of any abuse and it is SMRT’s responsibility to ensure this whenever possible. This incident deserves the attention of the Ministry of Transport.
SMRT must apologise for its incompetence in handling the situation. Failure to do so will tarnish its image even further.
Please ensure the SMRT, and also SBS Transit, put in place proper protocols to prevent passenger abuse. Commuters deserve no less.
Security personnel must not be only trained to conduct random baggage inspection. Overcrowding, a collateral damage of our immigration policy, has created a high level of stress in our society and more similar incidents are to be expected.