Photo of SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek from Straits Times

During the 4-hour-long extraordinary general meeting over the nationalisation of public transport operator SMRT, an unidentified man stood up and slammed CEO Desmond Kuek:

“Saw Phaik Hwa is better than you.”

This outburst was met with applause from the 3,747 attendees who are minority shareholders of SMRT. The former army general did not respond even though he was clearly embarrassed. Saw Phaik Hwa was the former CEO of SMRT who cut maintenance budget to boost profits for the investors, however, the breakdowns under her care was less frequent than under Desmond Kuek’s.

The meeting which saw investors worrying about SMRT’s performance because of the slew of train breakdowns, saw another embarrassing breakdown – the voting machine. Apparently, only the “Yes” button can be chosen. It is unknown whether this is a technical glitch or a deliberate attempt to fix the election paving the way for Temasek Holdings to takeover the very profitable train monopoly. The result was also delayed by 30 minutes due to another “technical glitch”.

84.8% of the votes were in favour of the buyover by Temasek Holdings, at a price of S$1.68 – which appears dismaying to many shareholders who purchased the shares above S$2.00 during its heydays.

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