SMRT Is Not Singapore Military Retirement Transport

The newly appointed SMRT CEO Ngien Hoon Ping is the third consecutive ex-SAF general to be CEO of the transport operator. The current CEO Neo Kian Hong and the previous CEO Desmond Kuek were also military generals.

Is this public transport or 1st transport battalion?

Why does the SMRT CEO always have to be from the military? How can it be that they did a “global search” and they could not find someone more qualified than an army general? Do we believe that a paper general is the best person to run our trains?

In the last decade, public transport fares have increased but rail reliability remains questionable. Singaporeans have had to face frequent MRT breakdowns especially prior to the pandemic. Is this the kind of track record that supports the tradition of hiring paper generals as chief?

SMRT should not be a retirement home for SAF personnels. It is not Singapore Military Retirement Transport. The government should not have to set aside posts for SAF paper generals after their military careers and deprive more competent Singaporeans of the opportunity to head the organisation. If they are really capable then they do not need to rely on the government to reserve a post for them.

Paper generals should not stand in the way of qualified Singaporeans who are better able to fill these roles. Yet time and again, paper generals get parachuted into public sectors and the PAP itself is filled with them.

It is time to stop parachuting paper generals so that they can get their iron rice bowls!