Singapore’s government-owned public transport monopoly, SBS Transit, has appointed a former army general as its new CEO. The former brigadier general from the Singapore Air Force (RSAF), Cheng Siak Kian, was promoted from his chief operating officer position, announced yesterday (Feb 21).
The former army general is replacing SBS Transit’s ex-CEO, Gan Juay Kiat, who resigned after he was caught abusing his power to have affairs with numerous subordinates. Gan Juay Kiat was also a former military commander at the Singapore Armed Force.
SBS Transit is hugely profitable, with its balance sheets protected by the government’s Public Transport Council. In 2019, fares were raised by 7% with SBS Transit seeing a record S$81.3 million profit.
Singapore often acclaims itself as a Meritocracy but cronyism is legal and a common practice in the Singapore dictatorship under Lee Hsien Loong. The Prime Minister puts his wife as CEO of Temasek Holdings for over 16 years, while his son was made a senior executive at the propaganda ministry, Ministry of Communications and Information.
Deputy Prime Minister Chan Chun Sing, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin and Minister Chee Hong Tat are also hand selected by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong due to their former military background. Only Tan Chuan Jin has been formally punished with a demotion for screwing up ministries under his charge.