Inundated tracks reveal cracks in our transport system


By Kumaran Pillai

Trains were disrupted for the umpteenth time this year, this time, for rain waters flooding the train tracks between Ang Mo Kio and Newton, disrupting rail services for a good part yesterday (7th Oct) and this morning (8th Oct).

Various images of trains submerged in flooded tunnels were put up by Gilbert Goh on his Facebook page. If these images are true and un-doctored, then this government has a lot to answer given that the chief executive of SMRT, an ex- Lieutenant-General, Singapore Armed Forces, Mr Desmond Kuek Bak Chye made a cool S$1.87M in 2016 and S$2.3M in wages in 2015. That’s slightly more than sixteen times of what an average Singaporean household makes in a year.

Kuek is paid so much to provide a mediocre service, it begs the question of what is meritocracy for the ruling party and why we still have this man as the head honcho of SMRT? What are his qualifications? Why ex-military personnel with no experience running a train network is running SMRT? Did the government or SMRT put up a job advertisement inviting potential candidates to apply for this position? Was there a lapse in the hiring process? Is the transport minister culpable of a lapse in fiduciary duty?

All attempts to do damage control of the growing dissatisfaction has fallen flat on their face with this recent incident.

SMRT publicises rising satisfaction in bus and cab services; leaves out data in same report of decline in MRT ratings

“I have never been overconcerned or obsessed with opinion polls or popularity polls. I think a leader who is, is a weak leader. If you are concerned with whether your rating will go up or down, then you are not a leader. You are just catching the wind … you will go where the wind is blowing. And that’s not what I am in this for.” Lee Kuan Yew

I’ll go as far as calling for an independent panel to investigate on the current breakdowns and how these contracts were awarded. Minister Chan Chun Sing spoke about predictive maintenance, that they will have systems in place to foretell or predict the breakdowns. What the heck is predictive maintenance? I’d say, get the basics right before you embark on more ambitious projects.

It seems like they are just whitewashing their failure and this sordid state of affairs. Has he has failed to realise that there is no panacea for incompetency?

Lee Kuan Yew said during his 1984 National Day rally speech:

“Everything works, whether its water, electricity, gas, telephone, telexes, it just has to work. If it doesn’t work, I want to know why, and if I am not satisfied, and I often was not, the chief goes, and I have to find another chief. Firing the chief is very simple.”

SMRT publicises rising satisfaction in bus and cab services; leaves out data in same report of decline in MRT ratings

Never mind what Minster Chan said, as this doesn’t fall under his purview. Where is Minister Khaw Boon Wan on this issue? He definitely has a lot of explaining to do and the last thing we want to hear is that our newspapers have gone tabloid or that this “ponding” only occurs once in fifty years.

Perhaps the heavens have conspired against the elite and the Chinese philosopher Mencius would have said that it is a sign that the rulers no longer have the mandate of heaven.

SMRT’s “teething issues” after thirty years

Let’s not take this matter lightly – there was also an electrical outage/fire as a result of the floods – as an individual you can petition to the parliament by writing to the Speaker Mr Tan Chuan Jin or write to your MP on the recent breakdowns and call for a commission of inquiry.


    • Everywhr like that lah ! So many Organisations also like that!! All the TOP management all good in somethings like talking big , getting lots of salary , dunno how to do work , play politics ! All talk no action! Same Lor

    • Another clownish Paper General who heads NOL previously brought NOL to its knees, is now doing the same with SPH. Good ridden, life is sooooo goooood! while laughing to the banks.

  1. I believe there was a crack or cracks on the linings.
    It might lead to large cracks where the water will burst and rush out of the doors of the nearest Station.
    My comment is, if I am not wrong. Leave the underground station orderly once you hear of any water leakage.
    Help one another and do not panic or rush.

  2. No wonder, another Idiotic Face! Good for nothing!
    A Military Man is always a Military Man.
    How can a professional person switch to become in charge of MRT?
    Does he knows the technical aspect? Or just come to his big spacious office?

  3. Welcome To SINGAPORE where those in power pays themselves $$$Millions as Salary and undisclosed bonuses just to screw the lives of Singaporeans and enrich themselves in preparation for an eventual ousting if it happens. 70% of the daft and retards Singaporeans will continue to worship these Clowns thinking that they will safeguard their interest but are blind that during times like this where truth manifest itself with frequent MRT breakdowns, disruption to normalisation couple with unprecedented economic downturn, internal conflicts, raping The Nation and toying with the constitution like nobody business like installing a dummy fake religious Muslim passing off as Malay and more. When will these Clowns learn only time will tell.

  4. All the top guns in garmen earn millions and millions of dollars but mrt just break down and break down and commuters get delayed and delayed in commuting on mrt

  5. Hahaha some team Olympiaks will come out and say “no amount of engineering can solve issues like this and let’s move on” or “if u so smart come and take over this position and do” or “it will takes 560 man years to investigate and solve the problems”

  6. The question is not how much he’s paid but whether he’s worth the amount paid. KPI of SMRT must have more weightage on customer’s satisfaction. If so, he should be paid zero dollar for this year!

  7. There’s also a crack in this analysis.

    That it’s Desmond’s fault.

    These problems are systematic problems that take years to appear. People like Desmond, tuck yew and khaw are the easiest to blame, yet in reality are the ones who got the shit handed to them.

    The real fault lies with the decision makers at least 5-10 years leading up to the problems. So, the previous ceos, board of directors, LTA ministers, and obviously the largest investors GIC and Temasek holdings.

  8. World leading Submarine manufacturer is heading to Singapore because our MRT system going to travel underwater! Big business,opportunity,LTA is calling for international company to tender for this project !

  9. SMRT should increase the maintenance and adjust the workers pay to another 10% in order to minimise a breakdown which now seems too often.
    Instead of payment fine to LTA…the money should put in good use.
    Having a good PREVENTIVE maintenance will be good rather than corrective maintenance. INCREASES YOUR MAINTENANCE MANPOWER please. Looking forward to see the improvement

  10. The MRT system has accumulated so much outcome of poor decision making in the past, that it is now beyond Temasek, Raffles, Ministers, Scholars or Civil Servants. Poor DK who took the job at the receiving end, thinking he can solve it militarily. And KBW took on the job, as a career advancement into CM role. Now we know the smartest ones are : RL and LTY. Now we also know : It is a Kamikaze Job. And the Government should now do two things, since Scholarship and Military Leadership cannot work. That is engage the pray of the major religious leaders in Singapore. Or if they believe, engage the Feng Sui and bomoh masters. It now needs supernatural help !

  11. Dear Mr. Khaw & Desmond, you are pay to solve and fix problems and not hide and run away from problem! All Singaporeans are affected by the frequent breakdown and delay of all public transport including buses now!

    If you guys can’t get it solve please have the dignity to resign and have a more responsible and knowledgeable person to do your work!

    You both are shameless to keep ur high pay job without solving all these messes!

  12. In Taiwan n S. Korea, incompetent Ministers n CEO will be forced to resign. In Japan , they commit harakiri. In China they will be sent to prison ! Only in Sinkapoor, the paper general with no experience in running a public transport system, gets rewarded with obscene salary plus year end bonus. A case of Pride & Prejudice !

  13. When we talk about dishonest money …. perhaps there is nothing we can do to you now …. no worries , very soon karma will catch up to you Desmond and those like ya very soon …. you and your family

  14. Jia Liao Bi General who is inexperienced & useless. Only thing good at is to issue orders for people to carry out, how to fight a winning war if he can’t lead by examples himself? Similarly, many business corporation today are also like that, top management drawing fat paid check but cannot work nor formulate strategies to bring the business or people forward, really pathetic….Soon Singapore will be finish.

  15. Theres no point blaming the top for not seeing. Theyre blinded by the enuches thats below them and out of the public eye. Find out who the culpurits are who did not report the problems accurately upwards.

  16. No action will be taken until or unless someone dies in the process…even then nothing will happen unless it’s a foreigner…and even then nothing will happen unless the foreigner is an Ang Mo…

  17. All those military medals on his chest! Which medal is an engineering badge to understand the MRT engineering system? Should bus drivers fly planes? SG govt and stat boards have too many such mismatched roles! Seriously help us SG!!!!

  18. Wow… look at all the badges on his uniform, but hey, did he go to real war to earn those badges? So just completed some basic or self-declared training?

  19. Boon Wan and Chee Meng will tell you they are going through a period of refinement and it is work in progress, so incidents like flooding is common. It happens in other countries too. We have made ourselves a laughing stock.

  20. act of God. blame it on God.
    this will happen even more frequently. yet, these failures did not see this coming. with global warming and rising sea levels, floods are expected. AND, they did NOTHING to mitigate flash floods.
    lky commissioned a study on rising sea levels and took flood mitigation measures. these bunch of useless good for nothings? INCOMPETENT! they depended on luck, now their luck has run out.
    that is why lky is feared in sg and respected worldwide.

    how to make sg flood proof? what will happen when the floods damage underground cables? will there be a blackout in sg?

    now I instruct them to carry out my orders!
    what else can they do?

  21. Are you refering the crack in our leaders head? Love to see how they defend our country, beside having all the honour & medals, but can they do the job. Can’t even run the MRT management competently, yet running our defends? Shit we in big trouble. Bullied by China & India.

  22. Those idiots must think we are living in the desert where it never rains. Bearing in mind our weather we should ensure pumps are in tip-top condition. Why are they only re-active instead of proactive. Earning millions and can’t even anticipate this kind of situation. What a waste of money!!!!!

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