Photo of SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek from Straits Times

Lacking the engineering competency and faith in their own capabilities, SMRT is now engaging a team of five engineers from the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and an undisclosed number of railway professionals from Taiwan’s Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation. There is no mention how much experts will cost taxpayers, especially importing the experts from Taiwan.

In their press release, SMRT announced that the DSTA team will be attached to SMRT for six months to review and improve their train maintenance regime:

“The DSTA engineers, with their competency in delivering capabilities for Singapore’s defence and security, have the know-how to manage complex engineering projects from concept to deployment, through to mid-life upgrades and replacement.”

Train reliability has been declining with breakdowns as frequent as weekly. More interestingly, the public announcement system of SMRT has appeared to be broken down, with no live information on service disruption. SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek, a former army general, has never worked in the private sector before and zero railway experience. The dictatorship however resisted public calls for resignation of the former SAF general and overlook his failures. On Tuesday, Minister Khaw Boon Wan said attaining rail reliability is a “multi-year war” and claimed that the Sun Tzu Art of War taught him that failures are acceptable.