Photo of SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek from Straits Times

Despite having the public transport operator at its worst performance in history charting train breakdowns as often as weekly, the CEO of SMRT Desmond Kuek took home a total of S$1.87 million in remuneration.

According to the latest annual report, the former Chief of Army received a variable performance pay of $1,040,759 in addition to his basic pay of $830,955, giving a total of $1,871,714. SMRT also award 260,000 shares worth about S$390,000. This sum is more than what his predecessor Saw Phaik Hwa was getting.

Although Desmond Kuek’s pay package is the highest in SMRT history, the public transport operator is unable to meeting minimal service expectations with overcrowding, breakdowns and safety lapses plaguing the company. Prior to his appointment in SMRT, Desmond Kuek was the Chief of Army who had zero experience managing a corporate business and no knowledge on railway operations. His predecessor Saw Phaik Hwa was given the golden handshake for failing to fix the train breakdown issues but Desmond Kuek remained on the job despite being unable to handle the problem as well.

Along with the other operator SBS Transit, SMRT have been pushing the cost of maintenance and training to the Singapore government, preferring to nationalising the costs while the profits are privatised. In their latest Q3-2016 financial report, private public transport operator SMRT posted a S$36.9 million profit.

Related article:
SMRT post five-fold profits despite increase in train breakdowns