9 Facts About SMRT’s Amnesty That You Probably Want to Know


It looks like SMRT has taken a leaf out of Singaporean “troubled youth” Amos Yee’s book, with an Amnesty offer that aims to dig out all “unintentional lapses”.

Can’t deny that it sounds promising, but is that what SMRT’s really going for?

Let’s find out.

What’s Amnesty?

According to Wikipedia, Amnesty is “a pardon extended by the government to a group or class of persons, usually for a political offense; the act of a sovereign power officially forgiving certain classes of persons who are subject to trial but have not yet been convicted.

If Layman took over Wiki, it would be something like “I very steady, grant you amnesty. In return, you confess all the dirty shit you did in the past. Never? Limpei will screw you so hard I will look like a screwdriver.”

Yeah, sounds about right.

But it’s not Amnesty Almighty

While it might create some leeway for certain offences, Amnesty is not powerful enough to obstruct the right hand of Justice.

An amnesty does not cover instances when an employee committed a crime or deliberate act of sabotage, according to Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan.

Let’s say you killed your colleague in cold blood because he had been stealing your P&B sandwiches, and you confess to it during Amnesty. Well, sadly that does not condone your act. So yeah, just thought I will spell that out. Although the theft of P&B sandwiches definitely calls for homicidal measures.


In light of the recent SMRT records falsification, SMRT has taken baby steps to prevent a similar case from happening, by extending an amnesty to its employees via e-mail.

SMRT’s group chief executive Desmond Kuek had this to say: “The offer was made to quickly establish the extent of improper practices, and to allow staff to “volunteer information in open reporting as a mitigation against further disciplinary action.”

Or in other words, “one last chance to ‘fess up, boys. Don’t say we bo pang chance.”


According to Straits Times, staff from at least one department in SMRT have allegedly admitted to “lapses in their work”.

Employees involved are from SMRT’s building and facilities department, which handles areas such as MRT tunnel ventilation, and flood and fire protection measures at train stations.

However, the exact figure that turned up is unclear.

The period has closed

The Amnesty offer ended on Friday (3 November 2017).


Promotional period unavailable, but is slated to return sometime soon, in 2060. Probably.

What’s next for SMRT?

SMRT has been pretty busy lately, suspending the manager and staff responsible for the falsification of records, and replacing its vice-president of maintenance a week after the flooding incident.

But it seems that the transport company will get even busier: SMRT will soon schedule a massive audit and inspection exercise, and iron out all uncovered lapses once and for all.

Good news for passengers; not so good news for the workers.

The Minister of Transport disapproved of it

Mr Khaw has said that he was worried when he first caught wind of the amnesty, which came with an assurance that “employees who stepped forward to admit breaches will not be penalised if they did so by November 3.”


“If you don’t manage it well, instead of forging trust, in fact it can cause a deterioration of relationship,” he said.

“Conversely, if there is lack of trust, you are in trouble.”

Mixed reactions

SMRT’s latest venture is certainly unconventional, especially by Singapore’s standards. So what do some of Singapore’s key figures have to say about it?

Mr William Thien, a principal consultant at EON Consulting and Training was supportive: “It’s a good effort to identify potential gaps quickly, calling on the conscience of employees to do the right thing.”

“Giving amnesty is not a common thing in companies. But given that SMRT is providing a public good, which has a great impact on public transport, I can understand why,” Mr Thien added. He said “organisations mostly rely on whistle-blowing channels to bring up lapses.”

PeopleWorldwide Consulting’s managing director David Leong, however, was skeptical: “From an HR perspective, it’s very poor people management. The trust between the management and staff is totally lost.


“It doesn’t lead anywhere… Are you going to retain the people who owned up and let them do the same job? Or are you enticing them to come out, to remove them later?”

Not the first one

SMRT is not the first company to conduct an internal Amnesty.

While rare, there were companies in other parts of the world (normally in the midst of a major company crisis) that resorted to it as well.

Some prior examples include car producer Volkswagen and Canadian construction firm SNC Lavalin.

Well, SMRT, can’t fault you on your latest venture.


After all, it will probably benefit the passengers.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for zero train delays today, eh?

That’ll be a good start.

Since you’re here, why not watch a video about an NTU student who went all out to impress his crush, only to end up in…tragedy? Here, watch it and do remember to share it (and also subscribe to Goody Feed YouTube channel)!

This article was first published on goodyfeed.com

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Featured image: The New Paper