Photo of June 1st overcrowding from Facebook

Singapore’s public transport operator SMRT issued a fake news this evening (Jun 1) openly lying that a disruptive 30min-long train breakdown is just a “signalling check”:

“The rush-hour train delays that affected commuters on the North-South Line (NSL) were due to signalling checks.”

All stations along the NSL were affected from peak hour period 6.47pm, and train services were resumed only after half an hour later around 7.20pm.

Also disseminating the fake news is the state-controlled mainstream media, with Straits Times, CNA and TodayOnline insisting that SMRT was just conducting “tests” during the peak hours. However, according to passengers on social media, the public address announcement made at the stations did not mention it was a “signalling check”. Also, unlikely previous tests, there was no earlier announcement warning of any “check” during peak hours.

Spreading false information in Singapore warrants a jail sentence, but the Singapore Police did not issue any statement in response to the widespread fake news.

Singapore’s media is ranked 151th in the world for credibility. The CEO of Singapore Press Holdings is former army general crony Ng Yat Chung.

Earlier last week, SMRT claimed that the NSL now has a new signaling system but it was not fully tested. SMRT said commuters “should expect delays due to glitches”. As such, it appears SMRT is allowed to omit future train disruptions from the rail reliability measurement, hence improving their image. Today’s train breakdown is the third in a week, following the Land Transport Authority’s fake news claiming that reliability increased two-fold.