Wednesday 8 July 2015

Why call for SMRT CEO to resign? Remember Saw Phaik Hwa

Another major MRT disruption, another call for the SMRT CEO to resign.

I understand the desire to hold someone accountable, but really, how would the resignation of the SMRT CEO help? (Besides providing the satisfaction of seeing someone pay for making thousands of commuters suffer.)

Remember the previous SMRT CEO, Ms Saw Phaik Hwa?

After The Great Train Breakdown of 2011, people even demonstrated at Hong Lim Park demanding that she quit.

A month later in January 2012, she did (although SMRT claimed that her resignation was planned before The Great Train Breakdown of 2011).

The Ferrari-driving Ms Saw was eventually replaced by Mr Desmond Kuek, a former army chief.

So those Hong Lim Park demonstrators got what they wanted, but did it stop the stoppages?

As you can see by the helpful table above, it didn't.

So would replacing Mr Kuek make a difference when replacing Ms Saw didn't?

As The Who sang: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Let's say Mr Kuek is replaced and the train breaks down again. Are we going to call for the new CEO to resign as well. This could go on indefinitely as the MRT disruptions are likely to continue.

Maybe it's the LTA CEO whose head should roll. But Mr Chew Men Leong, a former navy chief, joined LTA only less than a year ago, so you can't blame him for the train disruptions... or can you?

Or maybe it's the transport minister who should resign and indeed some have suggested that.

Mr Lui himself had replaced Mr Raymond Lim as transport minister in May 2011. Then came The Great Train Breakdown of 2011 in December.

Wait... I just realised ... all the train disruptions happened after Mr Lui became transport minister.

I'm sure it's just a coincidence.

I guess I still have a soft spot for the guy (also a former navy chief) after shaking his hand at his navy farewell dinner.

Anyway, I'd be surprised if Mr Lui is actually replaced because of The Great MRT Breakdown of 2015, not that it would do much good. (AUGUST 2015 UPDATE: He has announced he will leave politics. So he will no longer be Transport Minister. I was very surprised.)

This tweet pretty much nails what will likely happen after this.

EARLIER IN MARCH: Risky business: Winning award leads to losing streak on the tracks for SMRT


Tuck Yew tucks off: What exactly does a Transport Minister do anyway?

LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong quits