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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

MICA (P) 093/06/2012

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SMRT vows thorough checks after latest rail crack
Sumita Sreedharan

SINGAPORE — Train operator SMRT yesterday promised “a thorough inspection” of rail joints on the North-South and East-West lines where cracks could potentially occur, following last Saturday’s train delay due to a rail crack between Braddell and Bishan stations — the second incident to hit the NorthSouth line in three weeks. TODAY understands that 200 of such joints have been identified and checks will be prioritised on them. SMRT is aiming to complete the checks by the end of this week. Expressing its concern, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday noted SMRT’s preliminary assessment on the similarities between the two incidents — for example, that the cracks occurred at the welded joints between old and new sections of the curved track, and that the welds were done by the same contractor “relatively recently”, in June last year and February this year. The authority said it would be “closely monitoring” SMRT’s remedial action and is conducting a detailed investigation into the incidents to ensure that all contributory causes are properly addressed. Saturday afternoon’s rail crack on the north-bound track between Braddell and Bishan added 30 minutes of travel time for commuters, while a crack on the north-bound track between Somerset and Orchard stations on April 29 caused delays during the evening rush hour. Based on its findings, SMRT said it would investigate four areas — material, workmanship, stress factors and welding process — to determine the root cause of the incidents. Continued on page 2

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discriminatory practices

Govt not ruling out anti-discrimination laws at workplaces
Something needs to be done, but we’ll go for moral suasion first, says Chuan-Jin
Teo Xuanwei


Recognising the scale of discriminatory practices at the workplace affecting Singaporeans, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin yesterday hardened his stance against these practices and did not rule out anti-discrimination laws as an option. “Some Singaporeans have vocally expressed their anxieties over perceived discriminatory practices in their workplace, such as foreign managers hiring from their own home country. I would suggest this is not just perception but it is something that does happen,” he said.

Stressing that “clearly, something needs to be done”, he said the “question really is how far do we need to go”. Nevertheless, he reaffirmed the Government’s current approach of using “moral suasion” to tackle the issue for the time being. “Anti-discrimination legislation is one possible way to address these issues and we do not reject the idea entirely ... But we believe that in the present approach that we are heading, let us give it a fair stab and see how we can evolve over time,” said Mr Tan, who also spoke out against employers laying off older PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) in favour of younger ones as a strategy to lower costs. Mr Tan was speaking at a tripartite annual conference on fair employment practices. At the same event last year, he had indicated that the
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