SMRT Debunks Fake Report That CEO Fired 50% Of Night Crew, But Does Not Address Everything Else

It’s been an awful first half of the week for SMRT, plagued by endless train delays and even a collision that probably nobody could have expected.

Instead of addressing the barrage of negative commuter sentiments on social media, SMRT decided to play a different game instead. Debunking fake news.

We saw what you did there.

On 16 Nov, they posted a clarification on their official Facebook page regarding a “fake report” that SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek had fired 50% of the crew of workers on the night shift.

However, they forgot to address a host of other ratty allegations made against them by uploading only an excerpt of the post.

Here’s how their attempt at damage control went down in proverbial flames.

This Is Obviously Fake! (News)

Last night (16 Nov) at around 10pm, a post appeared mysteriously on SMRT’s official Facebook page. Intrigued, we thought it may be an apology regarding the recent train controversies.

In a baffling turn of events, it turned out SMRT that they were disputing the authenticity of a “report on SMRT” that was circulating online and over chat messaging apps.

We wonder why anyone would have taken this post seriously in the first place, but it was important enough for SMRT to post a clarification on their official Facebook account.

Some of you may have seen this online report on SMRT (extract in the image). This is obviously fake! How would SMRT…

Posted by SMRT on Thursday, November 16, 2017

According to SMRT, the post alleged that SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek had fired 50% of the night crew. To which SMRT replied, “This is obviously fake!” and tried to provide evidence to prove this was untrue.

Defending CEO Desmond Kuek, they pointed out that the Permanent Way team (PWAY) almost “DOUBLED” from 206 staff to 395 staff.

Yes, they put that in CAPS by themselves.


According to SMRT, the number of night shift workers added to the North-South and East-West Lines also increased by 65%.

This number would be then be compounded by external contract workers who “augment the permanent staff” on the tracks.

Let’s take a moment to consider all the math in these allegations.

Doing The PSLE-Worthy Math


To rephrase the allegation as a potential PSLE question in next year’s killer math paper:

If Ms Saw fired 25% of SMRT’s night crew and Mr Kuek fired 50% of the remaining night crew, what is the percentage of night crew left? [5 marks]

The numbers quoted in SMRT’s disputed post states that the original number “is down from 100% to 35%”.

Model Answer: Subtract 25% from 100% to get 75%. 50% of the remaining 75% would give you 37.5% and not 35%.

So it seems that SMRT does have a point. The disputed figures do not even tally within the post. Logically speaking, this makes SMRT’s version of the numbers comparatively more credible.

Fair enough. But, that’s where SMRT’s clarifications fall short of hitting the mark.

There are many other allegations in the full version of the post that were not addressed as the excerpt shared by SMRT was truncated. To further examine the allegations, we’ll have to take a look at the full version of the post.

Ratted Out By The Other Allegations

Here’s a screenshot of the full post in question. It’s still available online at the time of writing, and this leads one to wonder why SMRT only chose to extract a certain section to address. Perhaps it’s a form of political tai chi?


The full post includes other allegations which were not debunked by SMRT:

  1. Workers with 10-15 years of experience that were retrenched by SMRT drew salaries of $5,400, as compared to polytechnic graduates who drew $1,600 and yet had the same workload.
  2. When the older workers were fired, they removed all the cable tabs which inform others where the wire comes from and where it terminates.
  3. Ex-CEO Ms Saw’s retail expansion introduced a rodent problem to train stations.
  4. Rats ravaged the water and cable insulation of sealed cables that usually didn’t require maintenance for 25-50 years.
  5. This led to water leaks, dirt contamination and critter infestations which are causing signalling issues.
  6. SMRT allegedly brought in a consultant, who asked SMRT to shut down for a month to replace and retag all the faulty wires and cables.
  7. However, SMRT did not wish to do so.

Readers should note that with the numerous spelling errors and logical flaws in the post largely reducing its credibility, we think that the probability of this being a hoax is pretty high.

However, even if the rest of the allegations are untrue, didn’t SMRT share the post in full and address the rest of these serious allegations?

Turns out, it may have been because they were preparing another post about CEO Desmond Kuek.

90 minutes later, another post was posted on SMRT’s Facebook page about Mr Kuek visiting and interacting with Jurong Station’s SMRT team.

Many of our staff at the Jurong Crew Point were encouraged by SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek when he visited them today. His…

Posted by SMRT on Thursday, November 16, 2017

A case of smoke and mirrors? We can only speculate at this point because there has been no further updates regarding whether SMRT will be taking legal action against the people who spread the misinformation.

What Do Netizens Think?

Unfortunately, SMRT’s post generally drew a lot of flak from bewildered netizens as the tone was deemed “unprofessional” and “defensive”. As of the point of writing, it has already garnered close to 450 mostly negative comments.

Others found SMRT’s ironically speedy response to dispelling unverified information a far cry from their usually slow response to dealing with actual transport-related problems.

All things considered, it will be wise not to speculate on fake information circulating around the internet.

Compared to breaking fake news, we prefer to breakdown with laughter at funny SMRT Memes anyway.

Featured image from SMRT’s Facebook and Imgur.