Mr Seng Han Thong vs SMRT: Who Should We Believe?

Seng Han Thong, MP at Ang Mo Kio GRC who speaks good English
Seng Han Thong, MP at Ang Mo Kio GRC who speaks good English

A statement by Member of Parliament Seng Han Thong  on the SMRT breakdown fiasco has sparked an online furore. Via TheOnlineCitizen and AsiaOne.com:

“I noticed that the PR (SMRT public relations officer) mentioned that some of the (SMRT) staff, because they are Malay, they are Indian, they can’t converse in English well enough, so that also deters them, but I think we accept broken English.” Said Seng Han Thong on TV.

At no point did Mr Goh highlight any particular race in his remarks.” Said a SMRT Spokesperson.

Minister of State for Community Development Youth and Sports Madam Halimah Yacob has this to say about the whole incident:

“Several friends have raised their concerns over MP Seng Han Thong’s remarks. I am also disturbed by the remarks which are inappropriate and unfair even though he may be repeating what someone else said. Having worked in the labour movement for 33 years before taking up my present post, I am reminded of how employers in the past sometimes try to pin the blame on the lowest elvel workers as a way of… deflecting responsibilty from the management whenever a major problem occurs. Effective communication as we all know requires a properly thought out strategy and plan, putting a system in place, training of employees and testing whether the plan works, among others. It is not right to pin the blame on workers and, what is worse, Malay and Indian workers for the purported lack of English proficiency…”

Liar liar, pants on fire.

Who lied?

Or are both SMRT and Seng Han Thong just extremely  bad at communicating and listening to others?

Here’s the Blog.TV segment which got Seng Han Thong into hot soup:

Here’s a spoof on the whole saga by Mr Brown pretending to be Seng Han Thong:

On a side note, do Singaporeans realise that MPs in Ang Mo Kio GRC like Seng Han Thong and Lee Bee Wah (now transferred to Nee Soon GRC) enjoy “免死金牌” (immunity) status? There is no way we can vote them out no matter how badly they screw up as it would mean voting out our beloved Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong too.

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