Madam Norizan Ismail still remembers the exact question from her husband that sparked her fears that their son Nasrulhudin Najumudin may have been involved in a train accident near the Pasir Ris MRT station.
“Did Nasrul contact you?” her husband Najumudin Mohd Sahabudin, a technical officer who works in SMRT, asked on the phone.
He was then managing the crowd after train services were suspended following the accident on March 22 last year, and rang home after hearing that the victims were from their son’s department.
When Madam Norizan, 55, later received confirmation that her 26-year-old son was one of the two fatalities, she broke down: “I was speechless. I felt my entire body shaking… I just cried.”
To this day, she gets emotional thinking about her son, who died along with Mr Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, in the accident.
Not long after she got home that day, SMRT’s chief executive and her son’s manager arrived to explain what had happened, she said.
“They supported us,” she added simply of the company.
She said SMRT provided her family and Mr Asyraf’s family with cars for them to visit the graves in the weeks following the accident. The pair were buried side by side.
Both families held prayers last week to mark the anniversary of the two victims’ deaths.
Madam Norizan said the most emotional period for her close-knit family in the past year was having to spend their first Hari Raya without Mr Nasrulhudin.
“Before that incident, once or twice a year, we would have a family holiday,” she said, reminiscing about their last trip to Malaysia, in January last year. “We always made an effort to spend time together.”
Despite the pain, Madam Norizan, who revealed that she prays for her third son every day, appeared forgiving towards the SMRT.
The rail operator was fined $400,000 last month for failing to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety and health of employees who had to access the train tracks during traffic hours.
“When we read about it (the fine), we felt bad,” said the customer service supervisor.
“As far as our family is concerned, nobody wanted this to happen. We are not blaming anyone.
“Even the supervisor… He has suffered enough because of this incident. It must have been traumatic for him.”