After a student was fined $400 for using an electrical socket at a station to charge her mobile phone, then only LTA has decided to review the list of penalties on the public who flout MRT rules! It’s always the case of fire fighting. After something had happened, then only they decided to act. Before that, they were sleeping? Or business as usual until someone got hit unjustly or excessively?
Much discussion on this topic is going on in the cyber world. Click here to read. Most of them feel that it is quite unfair to charge the student in court for such a trivial offense with such a huge disproportionate fine. There was no warning sign put up to warn the public not to use the available power sockets in MRT stations. Those power sockets are not locked. They are easily available with easy access. The student was a first timer. A warning or a token fine should be more than sufficient. Those were some of the comments posted on-line. Frankly most of the negative comments are directed at SMRT. I think the latter should not be blamed for it. I’ll come to that later.
Let me congratulate the senior reporter Christopher Tan for putting up this news report after meticulously checking on the authenticity of the news which occurred in August last year. The news appeared on The Real Singapore last Monday (20/1/14) when a netizen wrote in to the site to complain. That story was quickly picked by the eagle-eyed reporter who did a thorough check with LTA and it was confirmed to be true. Due to the efforts of both TRS and the sharp eye senior reporter, LTA has decided to review the list of offenses in MRT premises. If that news story did not surface, do you think LTA would bother to do anything?
A cursory look at the list of offenses could make one laugh! Take the offense “Entering or remaining in train when it is full” Fine is $500. WTF? It really makes my toes laugh. Could LTA pls explain to the public? I’m totally at a loss.
The rules on MRT premises are actually set up by LTA. The latter is also empowered to prosecute offenders. Whether to proceed with prosecution or charge an offender in court lies with LTA. They also have the discretion to waive any charges against the offender. SMRT in this case merely reported the offense to LTA. SMRT like any other transport provider does not have any statutory power to prosecute or waive charges against offenders. To direct all the negative comments on SMRT is not fair or appropriate. The correct target to vent your indignation is LTA.
I am of the opinion that after the student’s case was highlighted by TRS and the main stream media, LTA felt that the fine of $400 against the student was far too excessive. If not, why then they decided to review it? Of course, LTA will die die, mati mati never admit that it’s their fault that such a thing happened. When the compassionate judge realized that the fine would be excessive, he advised the student to appeal against the offense. I believe that the student had appealed to SMRT – the latter would usually forward it to LTA but the appeal was unsuccessful. The judge had no choice but imposed a $400 fine under “Meddling, etc with plant and equipment”. Again, the judge was merciful by just imposing a $400 fine. The max fine is $5,000! Really langgar!
I hope readers are aware which party is at fault. It is LTA that is not exercising its discretion when enforcing such archaic rules. They simply follow by the rule book. Like I used to say CYA – Cover Your Arse. Just follow strictly to the law to the letter and you will never go wrong. No body could touch you! But then they forgot that there is another dimension to the rule of law such as compassion, decency and rationale behind every law. Pls don’t just follow blindly without any due care or consideration for the pain and suffering of commoners such as that student where $400 meant a lot to her. Will they ever understand?
Do not think that by claiming its not SMRT’s fault ,they will be grateful to you or offer you a job.
Whether LTA or SMRT,both have recruited only those Chia Leow Bee ,only good at waiting for pay day and bonuses and is blind to see and deaf to feed backs.
If these carry on,I pity our Leader who is doing his best to improve but has unknowing feed such a bunch of incompetent subordinates that fail him instead of helping him.
I have mentioned that there are still many discrepancies in those MRT stations that need to be improve.I do not want to be seen as anti establishment or being a complaint king so I would think that with so many talents in SMRT,such irregularities should have been observed and action taken to fine tune.No one can see the sockets which is left openly or never think of the consequence?.
If SMRT staff can use the discretion,he should just tell the pax to stop using the socket and let her go.Secure the socket if it is not for public use.Not only the staff left the brain at home,the management fail to see that they themselves are betting an offence .SMRT should also be charge for abetting.
Leaving such socket openly is like leaving a dollar in public intentionally ,waiting for a subject to pick it and then charge him for theft or fraudulent possession.Only those who try to claim credit for extra bonuses will resort to such tactic.
Go to some airports or public area that have battery chargers and that is to say that it is for public use.With the electrical sockets left openly,honestly I will also think that its an value added service for public convenience.I may tend to use it too .
Many parties are to be blame and that poor girl is really Wan Ong.I have been Wan Ong before,and charge for an offence that is due to the Authority’s incompetency and I really can feel how that little mei mei feel.S$400 may be peanut for many but S$400 is not a small amount to many too,especially to ordinary poor folk like me.
Very cruel .My hear feel like needle poking .
And I forget to add,when a person is charge in Court,he will have a record for years.Also when you say LTA may want to review,why are you so sure that it could be lower than the 400.Maybe they may feel its too little and may even propose to review and fine 1 K for the next offender..
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I’m surprised the organization was allowed to penalize the student. If the organization did not cover the socket or place a sign above the socket stating that it is not meant for public usage; then it should be no fault of the student to use it to charge her phone.
Perhaps lawyers could share their understanding of the law with us civilians.
I have quite a number of lawyer friends who unanimously said that you must be a retard if you don’t know that you’re not supposed to use the power points obviously meant for cleaning equipment at train stations.
There could be a possibility that the offending student might be ignorant of SMRT Law or State Law.
Few disputed that she be penalized for her action.
It is the Severity or the Extent of the Penalty that riled us folks.
I oso know many who are retard who become lawyers.If its a clear cut case then no need for this profession.
Actually both party wrong
the latter for using mrt property( means what..u go to people house n happily use somebody’s electric) n mrt for not covering the switch..
Sometimes, I can’t help but feel that we are losing good sense. Ignorance is no excuse. Just because the sockets are there, doesn’t mean it’s free for all. Why don’t they install it higher? At a good level with perhaps some couch for commuters to sit and charge their phones? Good common sense will tell us it’s not for public consumption. On the other hand, why didn’t SMRT install a cover to deter abuse? Anyway and either way, it’s small issue.
Patriot is right in that what is really the issue here is the extent of the penalty. Can’t they exercise a little bit of good sense and give her a warning? Or simply just tell her? If what she claim is true, that is she removed it the moment when she was told not to use it, can’t they just let it go? I can understand the penalty need to be huge for cases whereby some ‘koyak’ equipment could potentially cause major power trip or the illegal user is recalcitrant. Is this the case here? Where’s the sense of magnitude?
Gintai, , you’re absolutely right when you say all are just trying to cover their ass. No one wants to exercise discretion less they be accused of favouritism/corruption – “why you let her off?” So they thought they did the right thing by letting judges decide. All common good sense thrown out of the window.
Thank You for the Concurrence.
There were cases of students caught for shopliftings which are far more serious than using facility without authorization, were let off with warning and promise not to repeat the mistake. And there were many recent cases of offenders sentenced to do social and civic works. It makes me wonders why Judges in Sin are not consistent in their decisions on punishment.
It does appear that some judges do lack commonsense.
There are power points at Changi Airport for travelers to charge their handphones. Why SMRT cannot exercise discretion for the girl? Is it that those traveling domestically are deemed as 贱民？We cannot afford the same entitlement as those international travelers?