Photo of SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek from Straits Times

Singapore state media Straits Times nominated the failed SMRT CEO whose train business ended up getting a bailout from the government, Desmond Kwek, as “notable person of the year”.

According to Straits Times, it was mentioned that Desmond Kwek took a 20% pay cut but did not point out that his salaries at S$1.87 million is still among the highest among listed Singapore corporations. Desmond Kwek, a former army general, was also lauded for selling SMRT back to the government while pocketing only the lucrative labouring portion of the railway financing framework, leaving the exorbitant train assets and maintenance to taxpayers under the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

SMRT is the worst-performing train company with train breakdowns frequenting as once weekly.

The 154th-ranking in credibility media also nominated the former LTA chief, Chew Men Leong. Also a former high ranking uniformed officer, Chew Men Leong was unduly credited for the construction of Downtown Line 2 and Thomson-East Coast Line. The former navy rear admiral threw in the white towel in less than 2 years because he was exposed by a Hong Kong independent media of secretly returning newly-bought defective SMRT trains back to China.

Another crony of the government nominated as notable person of the year is Public Transport Council (PTC) chairman Richard Magnus. The PTC has created comfortable margin to state-owned transport companies like SMRT and SBS Transit through the raising of public transport fares. Both SMRT and SBS Transit posted record-high profits in their recent financial year, no thanks to the price-fixing by PTC.

You may view Straits Times report here.