Monday, December 10, 2012

"GENERAL" solution for our transport woes...?

When problems begin to show up in our transport system, they appointed a former rear admiral (navy's version of general) to be the transport minister. When the SMRT trains broke down and all confidence in CEO Saw was lost, they appointed ex-general Desmond Kuek. Shortly after the strike, Desmond Kwek announced that he would tap "military men" from the SAF for key posts in the SMRT[SMRT chief to tap military men for key posts] among them Colonel Gerald Koh who will move over to SMRT to be director of HR.

In Jul 2012, Minister Liu and PAP MP, Josephine Teo, responded to a suggestion to nationalize the public transport system by saying it would lead to inefficiencies, higher cost and stagnation of service quality[Link]. Everyone can now see  that the privatization of our transport system has led  to the problems it was suppose to solve. The govt is appointing people from the SAF with zero experience in the private sector to run our public transport. As the problems with our public transport, SMRT in particular, mounts, the govt turns to the SAF to find talents to fix the problems...so what happened to belief that privatization leads to efficiency? The PAP govt looks like it is taking back control of the SMRT  by appointing people from the public sector to top posts in the SMRT.

"Profit focus one factor for SMRT's problems"- CEO Kuek[Link]

CEO Kuek honestly admits that "profit focus" is one of the factors that led to problems in the SMRT.  This is equivalent to saying that "privatization" has led to problems because the main difference between being privatized and nationalized is the profit motive. CEO Kuek has spent more than 2 decades in the SAF and never been driven by profits - in the SAF, the focus is on operational effectiveness  and not cost cutting to get profits. 

Now that they have appointed people to top positions who never had jobs that required them to generate profits to focus on delivering service quality to commuters ...does it not make sense for SMRT to remain privatized? 

75 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The govt is appointing people from the SAF with zero experience in the private sector to run our public transport."
Lucky Tan

What to do, the SAF people, according to PAP govt, are the best available talents to run public transport mah.

Just like PAP, according to the 60%, is the best available party to run the country mah.

Sama sama logic lah.

Anonymous said...

I have private sector experience what.

But that does not mean I am able or willing to run SMRT.

Just like Lucky Tan blog well on politics.

But that doesn't mean he is or is willing to be a good politician what.

Anonymous said...

Very rare that LT posted two articles in a day.

"The govt is appointing people from the SAF with zero experience in the private sector to run our public transport."
Lucky Tan

Agreed. What they want is complete dogs/zombies not humans to run any operation they have. People who cannot think and can only act accordingly to what the pigs want.
Imagine this- the pigs shouted to the dogs: 'Catch(shoot)' and the dogs will do accordingly irregardless what they are told to do including shooting at their own kind.

Anonymous said...

this shows WP's suggestion back in 2006(at least) about nationalising public transport is valid and spot on.

Anonymous said...

If they are cheap and hardworking, we do not mind lah. Anyway, if they retire from SAF, they will only add to the unemployment rate cos no private companies will want them lah.

Anonymous said...

However, the chance that they are cheap and good is as good as ZERO.

Lye Khuen Way said...

Well, well we the by standers can only urge the Power that are ruling this tiny red dot to re-consider the call for both PTO, namely SMRT & SBS to be nationalize and their operations rationalize to achieve that "efficiency " and level of service one would expect without paying for someone 's dividends and high salary /bonus.

Public Services seems to a dirty word, just like "strike", minimium wage and even Public Housing.

We sure are a Unique place.

Anonymous said...

This is not the worse. Later, they may even appoint SAF general to head TH. what can you say? They have 60% of the vote, 93% of the seats, they have the mandate, they can do what they want.

Anonymous said...

Why army officers?

Because they are well trained in carrying and playing with balls(pocket billiard)

Anonymous said...

Will LKY send in the army in the event of freak election results?

First NOL.
Now SMRT.
And God knows how many in the parliament.
Looks like the army is being sent in already.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans desire for the government to take back operations of public transport is a good and sensible one. However this must be over Lee Kuan Yew's dead body.

Anonymous said...

If the army is good in anything, it is war games, carry gun and carry balls.
See generals saluting to for show(Ceremonial) Presidents? Well, the Fact is, the Generals themselves are also showpieces in Sin. Which one has been at a battle?

How many of the Generals are able to manage and how good are they at it when stripped of their military ranks? Looking at those put into the corporate world so far, none was, is showing much leadership.

And look at military rulers in history, most ended up as despot, dictator and tyrant. Of course history is not short of non military rulers becoming rotten when they rule for too long with iron fist clad in knuckle duster.

Anonymous said...

Seriously.
How difficult is it to run a train and bus company in one of the smallest countries in the world?

- Where the car population is rigidly controlled.
- Where 90% of the property is controlled by the govt.
- Where 60% of the population will blindly vote for the ruling party.
- where pay for senior management is never a problem
- with no barriers to entry to hiring foreigners
- where the govt. gives you $1.1 billion to buy buses.
- and all the costs can be passed to the commuters

Seriously. How difficult is it?
Unless you are hopelessly incompetent.

Anonymous said...

Seriously. How difficult is it?
Anon 10/12/12 22:53

It is difficult because:

1. not enough sinkies want to work as bus drivers for the kind of pay.
2. PRCs willing to work but later go on strike when they realised they are paid the lowest.
3. not easy to raise bus driver pay because profits and CEO pay and bonus will be affected.
4. not easy to increase bus fares because votes for PAP will be affected.

So you say lah, difficult or not?

Anonymous said...

Like I said, not difficult at all.
Only incompetent, entitlement-minded cronies-in-white find it difficult.

Anonymous said...

'If I have to shoot 200,000 students to save China from another 100 years of disorder, so be it.' LKY recalling how former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping dealt with the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Straits Times, Aug 17, 2004

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Anonymous said...

With my 2.5 yrs NS and 13 yrs reservist experience, I suppose I can at least qualify to run a train or bus station. Looks like there is a golden bowl after all.

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Anonymous said...

Look, we have this PAP Minister who is not even honest enough to admit he has ever watched pornography in his whole life, would we expect him to be honest enough to admit his mistakes in appointing useless people to be in charge ?

Just look at his mindset, as if watching pornography is the greatest evil, what sort of expectations can we expect from this Minister ?

Anonymous said...

You people just don't realize the need . Do you know how many captain we have in our bus company now ? If we don't get enough General u think we can run it properly.

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Anonymous said...

"The govt is appointing people from the SAF with zero experience in the private sector to run our public transport."
Lucky Tan

They are not merely operational heads or your standard general managers that perform the job at another level but these people were specially trained by the SAF and are now appointed at a global level to oversee the operational and all the day to day running of the division. Aside from your pun on the words "private sector", you cannot be seriously suggesting they have zero experience to do the job they have been assigned?

If you think they are not suitable, then who is and what should the qualifications be?

Anonymous said...

so long as they are cheaper and more dedicated than ex ceo saw, i think we should give it a try.

Anonymous said...

The pay of SMRT CEO is very high, in the millions, per year.

So cannot anyhow get a person what, even if he got lots of private sector experience and his current pay is also not anywhere near millions.

And even if can get the right person, he may not want the job. So he will say "No, Sir" to the job.

So the job goes to the best available one lah, and who will most likely say yes. Yes Sir, like in the army. Can you say "No, Sir" in the army?

Anonymous said...

"If we say that we believe in democracy, if we say that the fabric of a democratic society is one which allows for the free play of idea...then, in the name of all the gods, give that free play a chance to work within the constitutional framework." LKY, Singapore Legislative Assembly, Oct 4, 1956
Apparently, he does not believe in democracy. The only reason why people still vote for his people is because they are daft?

Anonymous said...

"So the job goes to the best available one lah"

Yup. The job goes to the best available crony-in-white.
It's a meritocracy of cronies.
May the best crony win.

Anonymous said...

NS is a brainwash process.

Anonymous said...

Getting SAF to do the top jobs because all their career life they are thought to obey instructions and not to question their superiors about whatever decisions made or instructions passed down.

Anonymous said...

Who can say no to NS?

Only females, foreign talents and quitters, tio bo?



Anonymous said...

Only females, foreign talents and quitters, tio bo?
11/12/12 21:41

Bo tio. Still got some more. Foreign talents turned PRs and turned citizens also can say no to NS.

Anonymous said...

PAP-MIW Jokes
------------
Q. What do you get when you cross a female PAPig with a Panda?
A. Who knows. There is only so much a Panda can be forced to do.

Q. How does a female PAPig do a high-5?
A. She smacks herself in the forehead.

Q. How do you make a female PAPig laugh on Monday mornings?
A. Tell them a joke on Friday night!

Anonymous said...

Lucky Tan,
very sure you are wrong. Why do you think they use SAF man ?

Answer: These are basically YES-MAN that just take order to get the job done like soldier is taught to do without questioning.

PAP passed a verdict to make profit and yet must solve problem. So these YES-MAN just pass the buck to the commuters. LIU is one excellent example of such YES-MAN. Whenever ask where the money comes from, he will always reply from commuters, but yet their millions dollar salary comes from profit generated from the public service. Freaking ridiculous nonsense from PAP.

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Anonymous said...

I notice that you write a lot about what you find inobjective responses given by our government leaders. I think this is not a clever approach. A more intelligent way is to engage the government in discussions and join a political party to contest your ideas, if indeed the future of Singaporeans and Singapore matter much to you and is worth caring for.

Blogging in this manner is futile and is not an effective use of energy.

Anonymous said...

"A more intelligent way is to engage the government in discussions and join a political party to contest your ideas, if indeed the future of Singaporeans and Singapore matter much to you and is worth caring for."


Please stop this type of bullshit nonsense which sounds like PAP. Respect others if you want others to respect you. People enjoy privacy as much as you do, so respect people's choice if they just want raise this issue anonymously.

Kyet said...

I'd rather have a general take charge of SMRT than some Ferrari-driving CEO with private sector experience. We should not throw stones at the government because of the failure of the person with private sector experience who took SMRT to record profits. It is good that Desmond Kuek has identified the fault of SMRT being too profit-focused.

Kyet said...

I'd rather have a general take charge of SMRT than some Ferrari-driving CEO with private sector experience. We should not throw stones at the government because of the failure of the person with private sector experience who took SMRT to record profits. It is good that Desmond Kuek has identified the fault of SMRT being too profit-focused.

Anonymous said...

" We should not throw stones at the government because of the failure of the person with private sector experience who took SMRT to record profits. It is good that Desmond Kuek has identified the fault of SMRT being too profit-focused."

don't have problem but since when any PAP-approved military figures don't eventually become mouthpiece and parrot of the establishment who end-up parroting nonsense and toe-line. Think kee chiu and tan ...

What make this difference ? For how many times are we contended that some clowns just repeat what we know all along and then wayang all along ?

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Anonymous said...

@ Kyet
"It is good that Desmond Kuek has identified the fault of SMRT being too profit-focused."

Lucky Tan, other bloggers and netizens had identified the problem about 4-5 years earlier before Desmond Kuek.
Typical PAPig.
Slooooow ....
Way behind the curve
And deaf to boot.

Anonymous said...

PAPig @ 11/12/12 23:59
"A more intelligent way is to engage the government in discussions and join a political party to contest your ideas, ..."

The best way is just to vote out the incompetent govt.
Don't waste time NatCONning with worthless idiots whose only merit is crony-ing with grandfather.

Anonymous said...

"Blogging in this manner is futile and is not an effective use of energy."
Anon 11/12/12 23:59

Too early to say.

Who knows, maybe by 2016, Lucky Tan will lead a political party to contest 100% seats against the PAP. Maybe I will even join his party.

So in the meantime, just blog lah, what else?

Because cannot hold public protests what? Just like strikes, it is illegal, tio bo?

Anonymous said...

First we had a bunch of glorified cosmetic salesgirls running SMRT, which is an engineering company running a public service.

Now we have a be-medalled ex-general who will be getting his Army buddies in.

Stay tuned for more disasters in SMRT in the near future.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that ex SMRT CEO Saw Phaik Hwa applied for the job.

Did Desmond Kwek applied for or was he invited (or asked) to be SMRT CEO?

"Applied for" and "invited (or asked)to join" is very different, you know.

Anonymous said...

Don't just say Desmond Kuek.
What about George Yeo?

Anonymous said...

George Yeo? Most probably invited to join Kuok Group.

If I were a tycoon, I will also definitely invite PAP loser George Yeo to join my Group. Create a new post for him, if necessary.

Anonymous said...

Yes it's profit focus motivated. Privatise has robbed low cost and better quality services from SG. Privatisation is creating conflict of public interests. Singaporeans want their public transport back from those capitalist vampires.

Anonymous said...

"Singaporeans want their public transport back from those capitalist vampires."

But 60% voted PAP to represent them.
60% voted PAP to do their thinking for them.

And PAP say privatization is good.
Since 60% voted PAP.
That means 60% don't want their public transport back.
That means 60% support increase in bus fares.

Anonymous said...

"But 60% voted PAP to represent them.
60% voted PAP to do their thinking for them.

And PAP say privatization is good.
Since 60% voted PAP.
That means 60% don't want their public transport back.
That means 60% support increase in bus fares."

Yes it's that more people voted for them but it was a few to voice up to make changes like recent strike. Therefore One man with courage is a majority.

Anonymous said...

I think that general is only there for a while and I don't think he is a culprit lah for the bus driver complaints. I think netizens are using him as a scapegoat to blame. One thing about the Singapore eduction system that has failed miserably is when anything unfortunate happens, the first is to find someone else to blame. Rather than rally together to find a solution. The best part is always blame the same thing, i.e. PAP. Itslike no need to use brain, anything wrong, PAP's fault. And i know he is a general, but doesn't mean he cannot run a company. Just like some engineers can be CEO. CEO skillsets are more leadership skills and ability to work under pressure. Doesn't matter if he has a degree unrelated to his work. a lawyer can be a CEO as well.

Anonymous said...

I think privatisation of SMRT has its benefits as well. So now with hindsight we all blame the government for privatising the company. So the government and civil service can spend more time in planning for our nation instead of running the company. And it also forces the company to be innovative and find ways to improve efficiency and profitability, i.e. retail space. So yes, there are downside, i.e. a private company needs to be accountable to its shareholders which means they cannot continue to suffer losses for its bus operations to subsidise its commuters. So now that we know that, perhaps instead of blaming and blaming, why not suggest SMRT sell back its bus operations to the government? If I'm not wrong, the bus operations is making losses and not sustainable unless they increase prices. But please note, selling back to government doedn't mean fares will never increase hor. even if it is a public good, it must breakeven. Not everyone takes buses, ans its ridiculous to assume those who do not take buses must always subsidise those who do.

Anonymous said...

And I just want to highlight one doesn't have to be an MBA to be a CEO. Lawyers, generals, ah beng all can be CEOs. I think leadership is in the blood. Maybe this "general" has done well in the army and showcase his leadership skills?

Anonymous said...

And just because he has never worked in the private sector before doesn't mean he is stupid. For all you know, he has quick analytical skills and organisation skills. And frankly, there are a lot of stupid people who work in the private sector too. These are the ones likely to always complain and blame others for every thing in their lives.

Anonymous said...

And i am always very amazed with 2 lines of thought that will permeate every thread in this blog

1) For everything, they must blame the 66.1%

2) The PAP

3) Large corporations

It's getting boring and too predictable. Perhaps learn to think deeper?

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

And operational efficiencies means cutting cost lah. What do you mean operational efficiencies can be achieved without cutting costs? Just imagine, every year every company must give increment to its employees and most companies thank goodness can cover for the incrementr by raising revenues and rates. in this case, we are talking about having to increase salaries while not allowed to increase fares. Is this FAIR? And the BUS OPERATIONS is incurring losses. So the most discretionary expense is MANPOWER because one cannot cut on fuel costs. Frankly, I think middle management is the worst. The bunch of guys sitting around and not contributing to the profitability of the company and complain the most. Just cut the pay of middle management and incrase the pay of bus drivers. I think that is the best solution. SMRT bus operations is losing money. Please analyse deeper.

Anonymous said...

i think in most companies, the back office middle management is the biggest liability. at least the bus drivers are on the roads and providing service.

Anonymous said...

These ex-military people have shown themselves to be so good at screwing up things big time. So many cases and yet they continue to rely on these rigid assholes.

Anonymous said...

And Singaporeans are so unforgiving, which probably explains why no one steps up to be a leader or an entrepreneur. Just look at this blog, everyone is so keen to blame people for every failure. Its like every failure will be frowned upon and people will ask for blood. FIRE HIM! He just started doesn't he? And the bus drivers strikes are individual actions and sometimes just cannot be prevented. Its like no matter how efficient is the government, you cannot prevent individuals from commiting suicide. So let's cut this guy some slack for the bus drivers strike. And are we all without failures? And this is not even a big failure to be honest. Singapore bus service is not perfect but is it bad enough to want people to be fired. Most of us do rather risk-free jobs esp in back office or middle office because performance is hardly measurable. But for those who take responsiblity and risk and stick their heads out to take risk in their lives, let's not be so keen to laugh at their failures.

Anonymous said...

And Singaporeans expect 100% efficiency every where they go. Very demanding because they are so used to living in a country or a government that is very efficient. Haha. That is the problem of being too successful and too efficient. Just no patience to wait for problems to solve and no room for failures. Everyone will jump and relish if you FAIL. It's sad. And Singaporeans always complain they have no money to pay for $0.10 increase in bus fares when in reality, their decision point is about when to buy the next iphone and where to go for next holiday. and they complain they have no money. It's an irony.

Jack said...

I post a comment on this blog
http://www.fivestarsandamoon.com/?p=967
Obviously because of his pro-PAP and pro-establishment stand,it was deleted.
This is what I wrote in response to his post on a letter.
"This letter is totally incoherent.
There are 2 issues in his letter which are totally different altogether.
When citizens complain about too having many foreigners here, they are actually questioning the Govt's polcy on lax immigration.
The PRC drivers' strike is a matter of justice and equality. Given all the facts, we can't help but feel the drivers were hard done and shortchanged by their employer.
Is the writer saying that just because they are foreigners, they don't deserve any amount of fairplay"

Anonymous said...

sorry jack, i thought your remarks could have been more precise and coherent too, no wonder.

Anonymous said...

sorry jack, i thought your remarks could have been more precise and coherent too, no wonder.

Anonymous said...

"And Singaporeans are so unforgiving, which probably explains why no one steps up to be a leader or an entrepreneur."

The pay is lousy. PAP thinks so too. That is why they pay themselves so much.

Anonymous said...

PAP-MIW Joke
------------
Q. What's the difference between a female PAPig and a bowling ball?

A. You can only fit 3 fingers into a bowling ball.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting that when major MRT crises erupted the highest authorities that remained totally unscathed from it all are always coincidentally on holiday abroad and unable to fight the fire personally?

Back in Dec 2011 when the trains stalled, PM Lee, Adm Liu and Josephine were away, and this time around Desmond Kuek was in Oregon?

Anonymous said...

I guess the govt is a victim of it's past successes. I sincerely hope that the best is still yet to be.

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Minghui Kuok said...

I think the biggest problem started with Saw Phaik Hwa's appointment where the focus started to veer away from the original vision of a 1st world public transport system.

You see, there's no room for negotiation between nationalizing something intended to be public and wanting to focus on profits as first priority. It's like walking on a tightrope where a person will definitely fall within 4-5 steps made.

This time round, I'll have to say that the whole none-profit focus stance is a good start, but not enough to allay the critics' fears. And the reason is very simple. Every big shot comes from the military, every form of military will always have the government above, not just Singapore mind you.

In fact, one thing that the SPH regime had screwed up mightily was most likely down to having incorrect people for the correct positions. It's not just SPH, but chances were that she needed to approve everything beforehand. Therefore, bar being a puppet, she should be held equally culpable.

So why am I harping over the past failures? The reason is very simple. Upon what grounds are the current appointments made? Singapore is still considered a meritocracy even though it might have been totally different from our founding fathers' time. If everything can go smoothly, that will shut the critics up. But if the problems still persist/end up worse, everyone from the Parliament to the everyday folks will start to ask some really damning questions.