20151027 Singapore’s rail system will improve when government stops appointing unqualified CEOs

I refer to Minister Khaw’s blogpost, “Catching rats”.

Something must have struck Khaw for him to suddenly realise the need for non book-smart engineers. But so long as PAP keeps parachuting paper generals and book-smart scholars to run our PTOs, rest assured we are inviting the mother of all major disruptions.

PTO CEOs must learn to stand on their own two feet instead of relying on ministers to front the organisation whenever there’s trouble. Keep the apology short and forget about trying to impress with technical details. To show sincerity and acceptance of responsibility, forgo part or entire bonus, depending on severity of disruption. And Khaw should not add salt to commuters’ wounds by throwing smoke.

CEO Desmond Kuek should volunteer a drastic cut in his $2.5 million pay package. He should count himself lucky to hang on to his job because a CEO in any other country would have been history. Khaw should be keeping his mouth shut because he has been MOT minister for only 30 days and let our experienced PTO CEOs take the flak.

Although SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek should be a household name by now, SBS Transit CEO has kept such a low profile that few know his name. It’s about time commuters get to know this guy better because his ‘competence’ will affect us in future, like it or not.

(Hi guys, let me introduce myself. As you can see, I didn’t have much experience so please cut me some slack, OK?)

Name: Gan Juay Kiat, CEO since 2010.
Year joined: 2006
Prior relevant experience: ZERO
Previous career: Held several senior command and staff appointments in SAF. President’s and SAF Scholar (book smart) in 1976. Worked in government-linked companies such as Times Publishing, Ascott Group and Capitaland Limited.

Not only are SMRT and SBS Transit CEOs scholars, even LTA CEO Chew Mun Leong is another scholar with ZERO prior relevant experience. Parachuting these overpaid guys to run organisations which they are totally unfamiliar with will only invite more trouble.

If the government seriously wants to address this issue, it should discard the scholar-right-man-for-top-job system. PAP can’t just super fast-track any book-smart guy to the top and expect him to perform. Maybe in the classroom but certainly not in the real world. This has already been proven many times.

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