Photo of Desmond Kuek and Neo Kian Hong from Public Service Division

Fired against his will, SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek was forced to resign in an announcement scheduled tomorrow (Apr 18) and a new army general, Neo Kian Hong, will take over. Like Desmond Kuek, Neo Kian Hong was the former Chief of Defence Force who was appointed as permanent secretary for defence development.

At 54, Neo Kian Hong is only a year younger than Desmond Kuek. SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek has previously stated that he will not retire but it appears that Temasek Holdings is running out of patience with his inability to fix the persistent train breakdowns and declining rail reliability.

Under Desmond Kuek’s watch, SMRT saw corruptions in it’s maintenance department and the company had to be bailed out by Temasek Holdings in order not to suffer billion dollars of losses from replacing it’s railway assets.

Due to the shocking announcement, Desmond Kuek did not disclose any plan after his retrenchment.

The Singapore public transport system is currently laden with breakdowns as frequent as weekly, budget over-run costing billions in taxes and legalised corruptions allowing operators SMRT and SBS Transit to post tens of millions in profits through fare hikes.