GOOD morning. Here are today’s top stories:
“We take responsibility and apologise for the tragic accident.”
SMRT yesterday (March 23) admitted to a serious lapse in safety procedure that resulted in the deaths of two young men on the tracks on Tuesday. The men were part of a 15-member SMRT maintenance crew. Trains are not allowed to enter sectors where maintenance workers had to step on the tracks. The captain of the train in question said he had immediately applied the emergency brakes but it was too late. SMRT said authorisations are given two to three times every day for staff members to be sent to the tracks while trains are running. It did not specify who was responsible for the safety lapse.
“Train is coming! Train is coming!”
Mr Muhammad Hatin Kamil, 24, was about to cross the tracks when he heard a senior technical officer behind him shout these words. He was a member of the maintenance crew out on the tracks on Tuesday, and a close friend of one of the victims, Mr Nasrulhudin Najumudin. “This happened right in front of my eyes. I couldn’t think. I went back to the platform, I couldn’t do anything,” he told The Straits Times. The two men were buried yesterday in the Muslim cemetery in Lim Chu Kang.
“I love Singapore and hope to call it my home permanently.”
Ai Takagi, the editor of The Real Singapore, as she apologised in open court yesterday. The 23-year-old Australian of Japanese descent was sentenced to 10 months’ jail for publishing articles that were intended to “provoke unwarranted hatred against foreigners in Singapore,” the judge said. She is eight weeks pregnant. Her husband, Singaporean Yang Kaiheng, 27, is claiming trial. Follow the saga here.
“Zero risk doesn’t exist.”
Belgium’s Interior Minister Jan Jambon, who said yesterday that even on high alert, authorities cannot be expected to prevent all terror attacks. Belgian police are on a manhunt for a suspect who is thought to have escaped after his device failed to explode in Tuesday’s attack, claimed by ISIS. Two other suicide bombers have been identified as brothers. They were known criminals but not linked to terror activities, police said. Read about the similarities between this attack and the Paris attacks here.
“Unless you turn the entire city into a prison, it’s not going to be possible to counter every possible attack.”
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam responding yesterday to the attacks in Brussels, which left a death toll of 31 and 270 people injured. The minister last week unveiled an ambitious plan to intensify the city-state’s surveillance with more CCTV cameras and security checks. The counter-terrorism strategy follows the announcement of four Singaporeans investigated for links to armed conflict in the same week. “We have to significantly rely on intelligence to deter; and in the case of Singapore, we have the ability to intervene early because we have the Internal Security Act (ISA),” Mr Shanmugam added.
“You asked why I came down today. I have only three words: I miss him.”
Civil servant Diana Lee, 47, who visited the remembrance site for Mr Lee Kuan Yew yesterday. The site, adjacent to Parliament House, was one of three set up to mark his first-year death anniversary yesterday. Mr Lee died on March 23 last year, aged 91, after being hospitalised for severe pneumonia. Across the island, many paid their respects to the founding father of Singapore, including past and present Members of Parliament, who attended a remembrance ceremony held at the Parliament House.
Featured image by The Middle Ground.
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