Technician sues Temasek-owned PSA Corp for exposing him to asbestos that caused lung cancer – Report

Medical reports show that Ajit was found to have cancer early last year. All parties are presently in closed-door mediation

Ajit Singh – Photo: The Independent / Singapore

A 57-year-old technician is suing Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) Corporation for exposing him to asbestos particles that he believes caused him to be afflicted with lung cancer, reports news portal The Independent.

Ajit Singh has also named Gethin-Jones Medical Practice as a defendant in his lawsuit claiming that the clinic, which served as PSA’s appointed clinic for maintenance workers, should have detected the lung cancer earlier during annual check-ups.

Ajit had worked for PSA since he was employed in or around 1980, when the company was a statutory board and continued to work for PSA even after it became a Temasek Holdings-linked private corporation in October 1997.

Quoting court papers, the Singapore news portal said Ajit’s duties allegedly required him to service and replace insulation material covering the exhaust systems of power units of cranes at the port. He claimed: “The power pack of the crane contains the exhaust, which is lined with asbestos which could be damaged or worn out.”

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that became banned in Singapore in 1989 after studies showed that long-term exposure to the mineral, that was once popularly used in construction and insulation, is linked to illnesses such as lung cancer, the report added.

Both PSA and Gethin-Jones Medical Practice are fighting the lawsuit. PSA is represented by one of Singapore’s leading law firms, Drew & Napier. The clinic is represented by WongPartnership while Mr Singh is represented by Gavan Law Practice.

PSA, which is fully owned by sovereign wealth fund Temasek, has asked the court to dismiss Mr Singh’s case on a technicality, arguing that a claim should have been filed within 15 years. Noting that it has stopped using asbestos in or around 1989 and that Mr Singh’s exposure to the particles would have occurred before 1990, PSA is asking for the case to be thrown out since more than 15 years have passed since the alleged negligence took place, the report said.

Medical reports show that Ajit was found to have cancer early last year. All parties are presently in closed-door mediation, the report added.

“We are not asking for (the sake of) money. We want what is fair so that we can cover the medical expenses, his suffering, his loss of income and quality of life. He was healthy and fit; now he is in palliative care,” the report quoted his 55-year old wife Koldip Kaur.

Go here to read the full report.


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