It has been proven umpteen times in the past that so long as the joker Desmond Kuek remains as CEO SMRT, frequent rail disruptions will remain a perennial problem. It did not come as a surprise to many Singaporeans when both the North-South and East-West lines were severely disrupted for more than two hours from around 7 pm last night (7 July) causing overwhelming difficulties and confusion to commuters at peak hour. It must have been a sick joke for Desmond Kuek to have the temerity to make a long speech at the Company’s annual general meeting on how much rail reliability had improved just hours before the disruptions. Could there have been a bigger clown on whom PM Lee and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew placed such a high estimation? Frequent rail disruptions will continue if thisjoker Desmond Kuak continues to helm the SMRT.
Would not the Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew be shedding crocodile tears to show extreme concern now on both the North-South and East-West lines affected by the disruption? He could not now pretend that he was not aware of the inadequacies of Desmond Kuek whose credentials to helm the SMRT are highly flawed. He was an army general whose whole life experience had been in getting the army yes men to be in strict discipline. So what expertise could he have in running a complex SMRT which requires technological knowledge to run smoothly without disruption. To add to his antics he brought in his army cronies to pack the management which could not but have led to the frequent breakdowns.
Could PM Lee and Minister Lui Tuck Yew be so myopic as not to be able to see the shortcomings of Desmond Kuek at the expense of commuters? The public could not have been more flabbergasted than when Kuek was given a substantial bonus recently ostensibly for his excellent management of SMRT. The public could not have been more perplexed to know what improvement Desmond Kuek has brought to SMRT to deserve the bonus if you have the dishonesty to disregard the frequent rail disruptions. So it comes down to the question of one scratching the back of each other at the expense of the commuters. Commuters will suffer as long as the status quo continues. Surely there could not be such a dearth of competent candidates with the right technological expertise around to run the SMRT efficiently. And what hold Desmond Kuek has on PM Lee and Minister Lui to enable him to cock a snook at them with impunity may never been known.
It has often been advocated that the nationalisation of the transport system could be the panacea of the transport ills and it is the reluctance or fear of the Government to consider the subject that is preventing a solution to the transport woes.
Yoong Siew Wah
About Yoong Siew Wah:
Mr Yoong is the former Director of Internal Security Department (ISD) from 1971-1974.
The ISD is a domestic intelligence agency of Singapore. It has the utmost right to detain without trial individuals suspected to be a threat to national security. Its stated mission is to confront and address security threats, including international terrorism, foreign subversion and espionage. The ISD also monitors and addresses potential threats from communism, prevention of racial tension which might affect the public peace, domestic counterterrorism, international counterterrorism, fraud against the state, surveillance, apprehension of suspected militants or terrorists and protection of Singapore’s national borders.