Photo of Neo Kian Hong from CNA

Speaking to state media CNA, newly-appointed SMRT director Neo Kian Hong said he sold his car so he can “understand” public transport. The millionaire elite who has never taken the trains or buses before, also said that he sold his house and bought a new property at the affluent Shunfu estate in Bishan:

“I sold my car earlier on but I didn’t want to buy a new car, because it is more useful for me to take the MRT to understand the issues and take our company’s assets like our taxis and buses. It’s because of this job. I moved near Shunfu just to make sure I can take the trains to work and it’s easier for me and my family can support me in doing this.”

The former army general who has zero experience working in the private sector and know next to nothing about railway operations openly lied that the public has been supportive of him, despite media reports were slamming his appointment as blatant cronyism and corruption:

“I have received positive feedback since my appointment was announced. The public has been very supportive. Many have come to me and expressed a lot of support. They have also expressed that they are very proud of the rail and that they want us to continue to improve it.”

Neo Kian Hong took over former army general Desmond Kuek as the S$1.8 million-a-year SMRT CEO in August. The crony of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, was appointed after an alleged “global search of over 20 candidates”. Nepotism, cronyism and corruption remain rife in Singapore and in recent years worsened under dictator Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The fate of Desmond Kuek is currently unknown, but the government crony will likely be given another directorship in one of the state-owned companies. Former army generals in Singapore are notorious for causing massive losses and disruptions as government ministers. In 2016, former army general Ng Yat Chung lost billions in the national shipping line company NOL he was heading, and sold it to a French company. The failed army general-turned-CEO was then appointed the CEO of state media Singapore Press Holdings, which is currently suffering heavy losses and declining readership. In 2017, former army general Tan Chuan Jin was demoted from a ministerial position and faced a 50% pay cut.