Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

2 passers-by lauded by SBS Transit for subduing man who attacked a bus driver

SINGAPORE — Private school student Muhammad Mu'tasim was headed to his grandparents’ home when he noticed a group of secondary school students peering into an SBS Transit bus parked near a bus stop on Pasir Ris Drive 1.

Mr Muhammad Mu'tasim (left) and Mr Clement Tan (right), along with another man, helped an SBS Transit bus driver who was being attacked by a passenger.

Mr Muhammad Mu'tasim (left) and Mr Clement Tan (right), along with another man, helped an SBS Transit bus driver who was being attacked by a passenger.

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

SINGAPORE — Private school student Muhammad Mu'tasim was headed to his grandparents’ home when he noticed a group of secondary school students peering into an SBS Transit bus parked near a bus stop on Pasir Ris Drive 1. 

Sensing something was wrong because students would not usually wait at that bus stop, the 25-year-old decided to take a closer look. 

As he approached the front door, he saw the bus driver cowering in his seat as another man threw punches at him. 

He and two other men, including Mr Clement Tan, who were at the bus stop, rushed in to subdue the attacker, pinning him down. 

“I didn’t feel any fear… I just thought he was intoxicated,” the University of Buffalo student said. 

On Friday (Sept 25), Mr Muhammad, along with Mr Tan, 29, were commended by public transport operator SBS Transit for helping its staff member on Sept 15. 

They were given a hamper and a certificate of appreciation.

The company managed to get in touch with the two men after putting up a post on Facebook asking if anyone knew them.  

They are still trying to identify the third member of the public who rendered help. 

Mr Tan, a financial adviser from insurance company Great Eastern, was on the way to the airport to study for his examinations when he noticed people getting off the bus and saw a man shouting at the bus driver. 

“When the first attack was launched, two other guys and I went over to assist and pull the attacker down,” he said.

“It was too short of a time to think. I just went in with the mindset of getting the guy out because if it was my loved ones or my friends, I would do the same thing.”

Together with the other men, Mr Tan held the attacker in a face-up position. 

He recalled that the attacker was struggling slightly when another member of the public shouted that the man had a weapon in his pocket — a 12cm-long knife — that they managed to remove from him.

Mr Muhammad said that he did not realise the gravity of the situation until after the incident. 

“I was just focused on subduing the person and it was only later made clear to me that he was holding a weapon.

“I didn’t really think much about it but in hindsight, it was a pretty dangerous situation because the knife could have seriously injured any one of us,” he said. 

Both men credited their National Service training in helping them navigate the situation — Mr Muhammad was a police officer while Mr Tan was a commando.

Mr Muhammad said: “If anything untoward happens, I believe it’s only the right thing that someone else steps up to help the person.” 

The attacker, Ja’afally Abdul Rahim, 52, was arrested by the police who arrived about five minutes after he was restrained outside the bus.  

He became upset when 39-year-old bus driver Low Kok Weng asked him to put on his mask upon boarding bus service 21 along Pasir Ris Drive 6. 

He scolded Mr Low and then started to attack him physically when the bus stopped along Pasir Ris Drive 1.

Mr Cheng Siak Kian, acting chief executive officer of SBS Transit, said that the company is providing legal advice and are supporting the driver in taking legal action.

SBS Transit will also continue trialling and working with contractors to improve protective shields for bus drivers, he said. 

Mr Cheng highlighted that de-escalation is key in such situations and drivers are trained and equipped with the relevant technology and skills to assist them. 

These include two-way communication and on-demand live feed that SBS Transit's operations control centre can access. 

Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Transport, who was also there on Friday to thank the men, said: “We are going to take a zero-tolerance approach towards abuses against our transport workers. This is not just the Government’s position but also the position of our tripartite partners, unions and employers.”

Related topics

SBS Transit abuse bus captain Good Samaritan award

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.