Just 3 days after the Public Transport Council announced the unpopular transportation fare hike, Singapore’s ever ‘reliable’ MRT trains broke down again. This time, on the North-South Line, from Ang Mo Kio Station all the way to Marina Bay. Exactly what needs to be done to rectify the problem? Is it a hardware or a heartware issue?

The Unseen Singapore believes that it is a heartware problem that can only be solved by changing the SMRT Management. After the money grubbing Saw Paik Hwa was kicked out, SMRT’s management brought in LG Desmond Kuek, a full time paper general to helm the company. How does his qualifications and experience help in bringing the company forward?

If we look at Desmond Kuek’s achievements during his 15 months tenure at the company, there were no visible improvement to the reliability and the service standards of Singapore’s MRT system. Instead, under his SMRT leadership, Singapore suffered 2 major breakdowns affecting thousands of Singaporeans and 8 other MRT/LRT disruptions! To make matters worse, the PTC granted SMRT their application for an increase in transport fares! What has happened to Singapore’s famed meritocracy?

If we recall, Singapore’s meritocracy rewards those who perform and in this blatant example of gross incompetence, how can the government reward SMRT with higher fares which in turn boost their profit revenue further? SMRT needs to make immediate rectification and get rid of paper general Desmond Kuek and bring in someone with the relevant rail experience to revive Singapore’s ailing system.

Looking at his track record, this is not the first time Desmond Kuek being caught out of his depth. In July 2010, after leaving the SAF, Desmond Kuek was appointed Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Water Resource. However, Desmond Kuek only lasted for 3 months as Permanent Secretary and quietly left the service soon after.

SMRT should take cue from the Singapore Government and get rid of this dead weight at once. The quicker he goes, the faster we get our MRT back on track!

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