SINGAPORE — Two days after discharging their lawyer M Ravi, the 13 former and current SBS Transit bus drivers suing the transport operator have engaged lawyer and opposition politician Lim Tean as his replacement.
In a media statement on behalf of the drivers, Chua Qwong Meng said on Wednesday (23 November) that Lim had agreed to take on the case at short notice despite a heavy caseload. He had also done so with "no demand as to fees".
"We are confident that he will be able to plead our case effectively in court and help us achieve the desired outcome," added Chua.
The workers filed a lawsuit in 2019 and last year against SBS Transit over alleged breaches of the Employment Act, claiming that they had been underpaid for overtime work and had not been given sufficient rest days.
On Monday, the drivers applied to discharge Ravi and for an adjournment of proceedings to find a new lawyer. Chua later said the workers were "very embarrassed" by Ravi’s behaviour towards Justice Audrey Lim and opposing counsel Davinder Singh.
At the start of a four-day civil trial on Monday, Ravi accused Justice Lim of being biased and demanded that she recuse herself from the case, according to a Straits Times report.
Ravi also called Singh a "clown", and told the court that Chua did not want to participate in "unlawful proceedings" anymore. He alleged that Chua did not trust other lawyers in Singapore.
In a Facebook post, Lim said that the case involves legal issues which have "enormous ramifications" not only for the economic interest of SBS Transit Drivers, but also many other workers in Singapore.
He noted that Justice Lim had ordered the case to be transferred from the lower Court to the High Court, as it involves important questions of law that would affect a larger class of workers in Singapore.
"On my part, I pledge to do my utmost for my clients so that their interests are protected. Their success in this litigation will also translate into benefit for many thousands of workers in Singapore," added Lim.
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