A change of leadership will be good for SMRT


The past few days has been very dark for SMRT in it’s 24 year operating history. Trains breaking down 3 times in less than a week. While a lot have been said about the way SMRT handled this crisis, I think we must look at why this problem happened in the very first place.

I was never a fan of Ms Saw Phaik Hwa, CEO of SMRT. If you have been reading my blog, I have been very critical of her. Especially the way she handled the 2 train depot break ins. With every mistake that SMRT makes, the calls for her head to roll gets louder.

Let’s put it this way. Ms Saw has forgotten the very core of SMRT. Which is to provide and serve Singaporeans with trains as a form of transportation. 61 rail defects and 13 defective trains is just totally unacceptable. How an organisation behaves, it’s a reflection on what it’s CEO is doing. The past few years, SMRT has been solely concentrating on building the Circle Line and building Xchanges after another, in line with Ms Saw’s vision of making MRT stations a ‘lifestyle hub’. Which is also why the complacency on the maintenance of trains and rails must be placed squarely on Ms Saw’s shoulders. Safety, has also been comprised. For a transport operator, that is the most serious sin of all.

If you ever wondered where all the money from the fare increase went, now you know it went to all the ‘lifestyle hubs’.

That is why I’m calling for a change of leadership at the top of SMRT. It needs a leader that puts commuters first before making money. Honestly, Singaporeans don’t need Xchanges or ‘lifestyle hubs’ at MRT stations. All we need is a safe mode of transport home after a hard day of work.

While I thank Ms Saw for transforming SMRT in to one of the world’s best transport operators, she has lost sight of the goal. Which is why, she should not overstay her welcome and resign now.



Filed under Singapore, SMRT

6 responses to “A change of leadership will be good for SMRT

  1. george

    Somethings I have noted for a while – LKY and PAP prefers non Singaporeans for many top jobs because such people are less bothered by the interest of Singaporeans and are therefore easier to manipulate by the political leadership/govt. Malaysians and ex-Malaysian (still with links in their motherland) esp are ideal candidates for this. Their loyalty to the country is secondary to pleasing their bosses. Apart from Saw the SMRT CEO, there is also the CEO of Sembwaste who is also the CEO of the Zoo. I think even the PM’s wife has relatives in Malaysia. There is actually a pattern if you care to look:

    1. the Lee family used to employ ah mahs from China, presently? This is to maintain the privacy and secrets of the family as they return to China on retirement.

    2. the elite Gurkha brigade (much expanded in recent years) to guard the PM, family and the president. Why?

    3. in the NUS we recently heard that the new law faculty dean is an Aussie relative of Tony Tan. No locals can do the job?

    One basic reason is their malleability, another is their lack of feel/compassion or connection with born and bread here Singaporeans and therefore easily manipulated to do things/implement policies that may not be in the best interest of the locals or that would hit them hard.

  2. Yamasam

    We must not forget it was the govt policy to privatise public transportation that led us into today’s dire situation.

    When you have private operators, the first priority is always maximising profit and enhancing shareholders value. If the company sees the growth areas are in rentals of real estates such as Xchanges and shops in MRT stations, it is not surprising that they would focus their resources in these growth areas. Any private company would do the same.

    Therefore, we must hold the govt responsible for making the privatisation decision. I believe it is time to relook at this decision.

  3. Bishan

    From “Will consider to resign’ to “Will not resign”. Keep up with the teflon attitude Ms Saw. With Singaporeans who say she should “stay on” to clean up the mess she created..you’re daft. By the time she ‘cleaned it up” with the help of SG govt and tax payers monies, SMRT will spin another to say “She’s made a turnaround..therefore she should stay. LEt’s move on”.

    Good luck if you’re one of those proponents, however the good intention, is really naive. She’s not the master of tai chi. The people of singapore simple condone it and they just don’t see the missing “A” (accountability) in SMRT anymore. The 1 party politics have perpetuated the bad situation, and we continue to support such behavior. It has nothing to do emotional or witch0hunting. This is about business and leadership accountability.

  4. silly

    i understand smrt runs most of the train lines; not plan the rail system.

  5. Mind if I update this post with this great (albeit) old news , Ms Saw has stepped down as CEO of SMRT. I hope at least any future increase in MRT fares can be tempered by recent unpopular pollings.

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