Photo of Lawrence Wong from Ngau Kai Yan CNA

Following an increase in incidents relating to faulty HDB lifts, Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) issued a press release yesterday (June 9) “reminding” lift owners and contractors to be responsible for maintenance. According to BCA, there were four lift incidents – all four in HDB estates – over two days this week.

The BCA however does not blame Town Councils when lift contractors do not comply with maintenance standards, and said that they are taking “enforcement actions” against contractors instead. All blame will fall on the lift contractors, and Town Councils bear no responsibility when a lift fault happens.

There is also no compensation for injuries sustained by victims of lift faults. In the most recent case where an unlocked lift ceiling panel fell on a 10 year old girl, resulting in a severe cut at her left ankle requiring 5 stitches. The Prime Minister’s Ang Mo Kio GRC Town Council only paid for the medical fees at about S$200, and no compensation was made. For more serious lift incidents which resulted in a severed hand and a death, there were also no compensation made by their respective Town Councils – Jurong GRC Town Council and Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Town Council.

According to state media Straits Times, another lift incident happened on the same day (June 7) when the 10 year old girl’s lift ordeal occurred: six residents were stuck in a claustrophobic blackout inside a HDB lift at Jalan Membina and the lift alarm button was not working. There was also no phone reception and the residents could not get help, and they only got out when electrical power returned 15 minutes later.

Like Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong did not respond to any of the lift incidents, in a bid to protect his political reputation.