Photo of Neo Kian Hong from Mindef

Just hours after SMRT announced a new army general CEO, a major train breakdown happened at 1.50pm today (Apr 18) suspending services for more than 30 minutes between Tampines and Pasir Ris station. This is the second breakdown in two weeks, after a major track fault shut down services between Jurong East and Joo Koon for more than 3 hours.

Like outgoing CEO Desmond Kuek, SMRT’s new CEO, Neo Kian Hong, was the former Chief of Defence Force and a military general. CEO Neo Kian Hong was selected due to cronyism, as he had zero experience in the private sector or railway business.

SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming however that there has been a “global search” for SMRT CEO, and did not give details who was shortlisted for the role or justify how is Neo Kian Hong suitable.

Former SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek screwed up the SMRT business, with potential billions of losses due to the depreciating railway assets. SMRT’s shares were dropping and eventually de-listed from the stock exchange after Temasek Holdings bailed out the company.

Most Singaporeans have expressed disapproval for another army general for SMRT CEO, and questioned why isn’t an existing and more experienced senior manager not selected to head the transport operator instead.