A SMRT staff who chose to be anonymous told state media TodayOnline that employees are frustrated with the new incoming SMRT CEO who is the former chief of defence force. The SMRT staff who has worked in SMRT for over 15 years said that employees are angry that military cronies are taking over senior management roles:
“Desmond Kuek had angered many employees when he roped in former military officials who were equally newbies in running a rail company to take on senior management positions. If it had already been proven that a former chief of defence force had failed in the task, it will be a Herculean task for another chief of defence force to restore the faith of all corners. The staff’s concern is what this new CEO has on his mind right now – more of the same?”
Another SMRT employee States Times Review (STR) spoke to said that morale is very low at the moment, and the company had to increase wages to keep employees, especially those with over a decade of experience, in the company. Earlier in February 2018, SMRT raised wages for all technicians to appease happiness over poor profit-sharing in the company. In 2016, SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek took home S$1.8 million in annual salaries.
Another SMRT employee also told STR that he has little faith rail reliability will improve under the new CEO who knows next to nothing about railway engineering. The employee expressed disappointment at the choice of the new CEO, commented on the military background of Neo Kian Hong as “cannot make it like Desmond Kuek”, and referred to the appointment as a form of corruption.