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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

News Reports

Facts, views – and names – appreciated

The brakes failed. That’s why a leg on the rig in Jurong Shipyard tilted and men got pushed out into the sea. It’s good that SembCorp Marine came out so quickly to explain what happened rather than resort to the hackneyed phrase: Investigations are underway. Methinks corporations are learning that it’s better to say something, than nothing.

The same thing is happening on the SMRT front, with Desmond Kuek making the rounds of the media to answer concerns over its human resource management practices. So, there will be a reshuffle in the SMRT soon, he told Lianhe Zaobao, presumably to resolve what he had called deep-seated problems in the transport operator. I wonder if he will be speaking to his predecessor about these problems – I would so love to be a fly on the wall.

But while corporations seem more open now to putting their top officers in the frontline, the same isn’t true for those down the line or even those whose views could help avert similar problems. So the SMRT bus drivers have been gagged by the company and SembCorp Marine staff were seen ticking off workers who had been talking to the media.


I’m also rather tired of supposedly expert views from those who “declined to be named’’. If you have something to say, say it and put your name behind it. Instead we have the usual suspects, MPs, and the more or less same bunch of economists and academics (you should know the list by now..) who put their names down to what they say. And what they say (sometimes) are what anyone could have said too, although without the backing of votes and academic credentials.

What’s the worry? That the likes of SMRT and SembCorp Marine will “come after’’ you? That you won’t get contracts from them? That you worry about getting flak for speaking up? Or, maybe, you’re not sure about what you’re saying?

Back to SembCorp Marine.

You have to read TNP for a bit more than in the other media – like how come there was only one gangway. Apparently, there was supposed to be two. And how come the emergency services, such as the police and civil defence people, weren’t alerted. Apparently, the SembCorp people thought they could cope. It has a doctor and four nurses on site, and called in for more staff from outside. Also, some workers were ferried by lorries to clinics and hospitals. There were some ambulances used – but seems like they were from private operators and not the usual emergency services.
I don’t know if we’re supposed to applaud SembCorp for being “independent’’ or wonder why common sense didn’t kick in. I mean, anyone would have rang 999 when something like this happens, no? At least, more helping hands or some kind of easing of red tape at hospitals etc could have taken place. Or maybe SembCorp didn’t think it was serious enough to have cops and emergency officers helping or sniffing around? And bring the terrible horde of media people in their wake?

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Terribly odd.

Written By

An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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