New CEO Neo Kian Hong announced that the SMRT will be reorganised into five broad groups, with the moves geared at improving rail reliability
No 'deep-seated cultural issues' at SMRT, says its new CEO Neo Kian Hong To ensure staff perform, it takes good leadership as well as engagement with the ground, said SMRT's chief executive Neo Kian Hong. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The "deep-seated cultural issues" of human error or failure characterised by his predecessor Desmond Kuek do not exist within the SMRT, said its new chief executive Neo Kian Hong on Friday (Nov 16), as he unveiled internal moves geared at improving rail reliability.

"Based on my experience, our people want to do well," said Mr Neo, addressing the media during a visit to the SMRT Kim Chuan Depot located off Paya Lebar Road.
"I do not agree with the term (deep-seated cultural issues), because that's not my experience when I engage with the ground."
To ensure staff perform, it takes good leadership as well as engagement with the ground, said Mr Neo, a former chief of defence force who became SMRT's CEO from Aug 1.
The issue of "deep-seated cultural issues" within SMRT came into the spotlight last year, when Mr Kuek - also a former chief of defence force - had used it to explain the lapses within the organisation that led to the tunnel flooding incident in October last year.
"Indeed, many of our major disruptions in the past have been attributed in some part, or all, to human error or failure. We regret that this is so," Mr Kuek, who became SMRT CEO in 2012, was quoted as saying then.
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On Friday, Mr Neo said the transport operator will be reorganised into five broad groups - Trains, Engineering, Roads, Experience and Corporate Services - with Trains at its core.
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"SMRT is a public transport service provider. Our primary business is to manage and operate train services. The quality and reliability of our rail services will have an impact on the quality of life of Singaporeans," said Mr Neo, who was permanent secretary for defence development at the Ministry of Defence before his SMRT role.
"We plan to strengthen the organisation to meet the intended outcomes and stay focused on our core business which is trains. We also need to grow our rail engineering capabilities and capacity to be ready for the future."
"Based on my experience, our people want to do well," said Mr Neo, addressing the media during a visit to the SMRT Kim Chuan Depot located off Paya Lebar Road.

"I do not agree with the term (deep-seated cultural issues), because that's not my experience when I engage with the ground."

To ensure staff perform, it takes good leadership as well as engagement with the ground, said Mr Neo, a former chief of defence force who became SMRT's CEO from Aug 1.

The issue of "deep-seated cultural issues" within SMRT came into the spotlight last year, when Mr Kuek - also a former chief of defence force - had used it to explain the lapses within the organisation that led to the tunnel flooding incident in October last year.

"Indeed, many of our major disruptions in the past have been attributed in some part, or all, to human error or failure. We regret that this is so," Mr Kuek, who became SMRT CEO in 2012, was quoted as saying then.

On Friday, Mr Neo said the transport operator will be reorganised into five broad groups - Trains, Engineering, Roads, Experience and Corporate Services - with Trains at its core.

"SMRT is a public transport service provider. Our primary business is to manage and operate train services. The quality and reliability of our rail services will have an impact on the quality of life of Singaporeans," said Mr Neo, who was permanent secretary for defence development at the Ministry of Defence before his SMRT role.

"We plan to strengthen the organisation to meet the intended outcomes and stay focused on our core business which is trains. We also need to grow our rail engineering capabilities and capacity to be ready for the future."