To say that the name Desmond Kuek is synonymous with frequent rail disruptions is not an exaggeration. The employment of this ex-SAF Lieutenant-general as CEO in 2011 was not without misgiving among Singaporeans as it was considered ridiculous that an ex-SAF Lt-general without the necessary business and technical experience could run the SMRT efficiently. An ex-SAF general's experience was in running the SAF and used to issuing orders to soldiers with absolute obedience. Running the SMRT is altogether different and requires business and technical acumen that a CEO must be endowed with.
To show what a joker CEO Desmond Kuek is, he could display a blatant irresponsibility two months after assuming duty as CEO by vacationing in the United States in complete disregard to an illegal strike by 171 PRC drivers of SMRT. He returned only after everything had been brought under control.
Another instance of his inadequacy was in bringing in four SAF buddies into the SMRT management in December 2012 "to steer the beleaguered transport operator back on track". He acknowledged that SMRT was beleaguered but bringing in four SAF buddies to steer it back on track is mind-boggling. Like Desmond Kuek who lacks the necessary expertise to run SMRT, the bringing in of four SAF personnel, without the requisite experience, to steer it back on track could only mean to take the commuting public for a ride. It could only enhance the suspicion that the joker Desmond Kuek was out to make the SMRT a defence entity like PM Lee Hsien Loong's Cabinet.
That Desmond Kuek and his SAF buddies have not been able to make any improvement to the frequent rail disruptions since taking office is all too clear to the commuting public. They are not too blind to see the desperate effort of the CEO in trying to put up an artificial defence each time the SMRT runs into mishap. It happens so frequent that it ceases to have any meaning to the commuting public.
There have been at least five rail disruptions since 23 February with the latest two occurring on Tuesday 3 March.A sixth disruption has just occurred tonight at the Bukit Panjang LRT and it's so severe that services could only be restored the next day. Desmond Kuek acknowledged that commuter confidence in the reliability of SMRT's train services has been shaken. Whatever plans Desmond Kuek promised to make to remedy the defects will not be able to convince the public because past promises have been found to be meaningless. Desmond Kuek and his SAF buddies just lack the expertise to run the SMRT efficiently. They are only fit to run the SAF with their absolute command.
So is there any remedy? Desmond Kuek is obviously found to be severely wanting and the most logical choice is a replacement with the requisite expertise to run the SMRT efficiently. So if for political expediency, it is found necessary for Desmond Kuek to continue as CEO, rail disruptions will be a perennial problem as Kuek will never have the expertise to overcome it.The ideal solution will however be the nationalisation of the transport system.