DPM Tharman visits elderly woman whose hand was severed in lift accident

The elderly woman whose hand was severed in a lift accident is a "remarkably strong person", Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said after visiting her in hospital on Wednesday.

DPM Tharman, who is also a Member of Parliament for Jurong Group Representation Constituency, said that he has known Madam Khoo Bee Hua for 14 years and said she is very well-regarded in the community.

He said that Madam Khoo, 85, was doing well under the "very difficult circumstances", adding that she has a "very strong mind" and is "totally alert".

Speaking to reporters, DPM Tharman assured that a thorough investigation would be carried out into the incident which happened on Friday.

Channel NewsAsia reported that an independent report into the cause of the accident is expected to be completed in two weeks.

"Lifts are something that we depend on every day...We really don't want people to have to worry about their safety when taking the lift," he said.

He also said that there is an urgent need to raise safety standards of lifts.

"So we really have to raise our standards, engineering work, technical work, maintenance work and have a system of audit. So that even if a maintenance contractor is following their schedule, they have a system of audit to check on a number of lifts regularly and go for zero problems wherever we can".

He added: "In this instance, it is really unfortunate because it is an 85-year-old woman who can't be blamed for what happened at all. We have to take responsibility for this."