Aside from having two CEOs, SMRT now appoints two Chief Maintenance Officers to overhaul the broken maintenance regime that saw endless train delays, breakdowns and even numerous corruption scandals.
Chief Maintenance Officer 1 is the incumbent senior vice-president for maintenance and engineering Chia Chun Wah, while Chief Maintenance Officer 2 is Yee Boon Chow, a bureaucrat assigned from the Land Transport Authority.
The second officer is a government proxy who served as LTA director for 10 years to monitor the maintenance regime of SMRT and also to investigate the senior management of SMRT. According to sources close to SMRT, the state-owned transport operator is believed to have withheld vital information from the authority and the government spy will report directly to LTA, signalling a growing distrust by the authority.
Former army generals SMRT CEOs Desmond Kuek and Lee Ling Wee have both refused to step down despite failing rail reliability. The two thick-skinned cronies of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have endured public criticisms from a train collision, flooding incident, increasing frequency of disruptions, shorter operating hours and two corruption scandals involving the maintenance department and purchasing department.
A faction of the ruling party elites wanted SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek to resign, with a “hint” by state media Straits Times. The former Chief of Army responded by slamming Straits Times for publishing fake news.