Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Same Old Same Old

The guy was helicoptered in to address the reliability issues of the "world class" mass rapid transit system, but instead of focusing on the uptime and safety aspects, he is proving to be another despicable determined to rip off the commuters for profit objectives.

Under his charge, ex-army officer Desmond Kuek, president and chief executive officer, SMRT has just fired a shot across the bow: SMRT warned that its profitability will be further eroded in the next 12 months by the "continuing misalignment between fares and operating costs". That has to be cryptic military code for justifying another round of fare increases.

Although revenue increased 5.9 per cent to $1.1 billion, the company's net profit declined 30.5 per cent to $83.3 million. SMRT's operational costs in the first three months of this year rose 12.9 per cent from the same quarter last year, due to higher train and staff costs. Imagine, staff costs taking as significant a bite of the operating revenue as train costs. How much are the ex-officers paid anyway?

A real cheap G-clamp
In most likelihood, SMRT will decline to disclose details of the compensation package, citing it as a matter of "transport and national security". That was the official excuse when they declined mainstream media's request for photos of the crack in the rail that brought down the train system (again) on Monday. More likely they must be trying to avoid the embarrassment of a picture of the broken section held together by flimsy G-clamps. The equivalent of the collector shoe assembly being held together by a tie-wrap. Notice the familiarity in recourse to cheap engineering solutions. Welding rods must have been too expensive an option for SMRT to consider. The section with the crack was supposed to have been checked using ultrasonic testing just last Thursday. But as real engineers know, there are ultrasonic testers and there are ultrasonic testers.

The guys in charge are maintaining that the crack in the MRT rail is "no risk to safety". Let's hope they don't have to eat their own words any time soon, public lives are at stake.


  1. Oh.. they say no risk because the train is travelling at 4-5km/hr. Hey, we might as well walk instead of taking the train. lol

  2. Who appointed this current SMRT CEO anyway?
    Maybe the only way to fix the SMRT problem is to vote wisely in GE 2016?

    Maybe our MRT train problem is linked to our choice of government?

  3. The crack occurs at the weld joint between two rail sections. I wonder what they mean when they say they have replaced the section of the rail. Cut out that part and create more joints? Butt welds are supposed to be stronger than the rail. Something is seriously wrong with their inspection regime if they can't detect the crack earlier on.

    1. The welded joint can be stronger than the parent materials, if a filler material is used that has strength properties superior to those of the parents, and proper welding techniques are used. Most likely the defective weld was a result of poor workmanship - known in the trade as "chicken shit welding" in Cantonese

    2. Perhaps cost savings from employing FTs result in "chicken shit welding" while the CEO is paid a salary to yield multimillion dignities?

  4. When in doubt, just "RAISE"! For all you know, and if the commuters and May Day protesters dare to not stop complaining about track faults and bus crowding, raise again and again.

    Given the unfettered power to tax and raise fares, how can they not be the most profitable organization and well-paid government in the whole world? No wonder this system is so much admired by the Keynesians and free-market politicians in the western world. Even a blind man can be PM under such a system, what do you think?

  5. ERP Charges have just been adjusted.

    Next expect public transport fares to be adjusted as well.

  6. MRT drivers and workers also need pay rise what... just because they are blue collar workers they have to suffer is it? Why all Singaporeans must be PMETs and only PMETs can prosper? Is this what you call fair?

    1. Raise MRT fares to pay higher salaries to CEO and friends?
      Who says anything about increasing salaries to blue collar workers in MRT?

  7. With S$1.1 billion worth of public funds pledged to two publicly listed transport companies SMRT & Comfort Delgro only recently, isn't it ridiculous that now they are already 'keechiu' hinting for another round public fare increase ?

    Someone pointed that it is widely suspected that the perpetual losses or subsidies at HDB are a direct result of some clever manipulation of the land costs charged at market value to HDB. They worst thing about this is that they keep stressing on the 'subsidies' part but chose to remain silent on the surpluses received via the SLA.

    Is it any wonder that SLA took some time to catch their IT executives trying to be funny with their accounts ? How sure are we that something funny is not happening at SMRT or Comfort Delgro ?

  8. After firing Ms Saw, they took $1.1b from the taxpayers (via govt subsidy). It was clear that the buck didn't stop with her, but us (the commuters).

    If, as the paper alludes to, their model is unsustainable, then we need to relook at refreshed co-op model or nationalization again.

    1. For firing Ms Saw, the operating cost went up because of the compensation paid to keep her silent. Plus the folks bought in to replace her and made the Mrt equally unreliable also would cause operating cost to go up.

  9. hope the quality of those G-clamps are not those we see in those budget outlets ....

    btw ... are those technical staff properly trained beside them having the "prerequisites" qualifications

    oops .... are the trainers also as above?

    okay .... food for thought;
    why are those display monitors mounted at one-end of the station instead in the middle? is it due to cost-cutting or plain "STUPITY"?

    1. <... instead in the middle? ..>

      should be ... "instead of in the middle"

  10. No choice ...5/01/2013 5:20 PM

    We have no choice.

    Cars are out of reach
    Buses do not turn up when you need them
    Trains are crowded with tourists and ah soh
    Bicycles are not conducive for use at equator
    Taxis are arrogant and costly
    Walking is not conducive at equator
    Sampan is not allowed
    Flying is not allowed
    Running is not practical

    Either you work from home or you get up, get out and join the rat race... and when you win, you'll still be a rat ( a very fast rat )

    Changing the gov may help, but it will take time to correct this mess.

    I am resigned to another election carnival in 2016.

  11. today technology can x-ray anyform of crack on rails.Perhap this is not in their inventory of maintainance because they ops not to have to save cost as their General naked vision can do the job.
    Contractor and supplier are paid the multi million but the quality is shit.Someone should be jail for such purchase to reflect poor performance and lack safety.Charge Him.....

  12. strange.. they make losses mainly due a one time impairment losses of $17 million due to their failed investment in China.

    Instead of they talk about salary costs etc..

    Try to hide their incompetence by avoiding mentioning about the $17 million losses in China?

  13. STUPIDITY DEMANDS ALL CAPS5/01/2013 10:07 PM

    Well well, Mr Kishore - the author of the book "Can Asians think?" recently ask singaporeans to suspend their (critical & cynical) thinking and trust the institutions who can deliver us the blessed "safety" we have been enjoying. Ipso facto, he says Freedom of Press/Speech is unnecessary.

    Looks like we the people have to write blogs and tell this to him instead.


  14. If selecting a CEO for SMRT is like a by-election, this Army Quek won't even get a chance. Nobody has heard of him before, just like Dr Koh Poh Koon.

    Anyway, how does an Army officer knows about cost and revenue? I suspect the shareholders aka PAP must be pressing him to up profit and thus (being paid million) he is willing to became a scapegoat of the whole scheme of things to come.

    You really have to pay a lot to greedy man to make willingly sacrifice and look bad while the worse guy will be hidden behind (aka shareholders) to count the cash till.

    1. he will bring with him the SAF cultures and value systems as had his peer had done; "WAYANG"

      which remind me;

      - prior notification of mobilisation exercises, all must reports within stipulated hour else "CHARGED" .... everybody happy

      - buddy system .... fondle my balls, you will go far

      - initiative .... just follow "my commands", dun act smart but "work smart" and you will make it in life

      - just remember and programmed it into the numb skull the golden words; "YES SIR"