Seasoned civil servant to join SMRT

Beleaguered rail operator SMRT Corp has hired a seasoned civil servant to help it foster a better relationship with the Government.

Mr Colin Lim, 43, currently senior director of planning and organisation at the Ministry of Home Affairs, will join the Temasek-owned transport group next month. He will be in charge of government relations and business development.

Neither Mr Lim nor SMRT would comment on the move, but The Straits Times understands it is to help build a stronger relationship with the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and, in particular, the Land Transport Authority - which regulates the transport industry.

Mr Lim, a scholarship holder and with the elite Administrative Service, was previously with the transport ministry.

He later left the public service to join computing giant IBM in Britain, before returning to Singapore to join the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

His last position at the LTA was group director for vehicle and transit licensing. From there, he joined the Ministry of Home Affairs.

A well-placed observer said: "The relationship between SMRT and the regulator has been patchy, especially of late, with all the rail incidents.

"Colin is the ideal person to help smooth things over as they (LTA and MoT) are familiar with him."

However, Mr David Leong, managing director of recruitment firm PeopleWorldwide Consulting, said the move might not solve SMRT's biggest problem.

"To make it frictionless between operator and Government is needless because the operator is supposed to work with guidance from the Government. It won't add to the efficacy of the rail system. It won't reduce the failure rate, which is an engineering issue."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'Seasoned civil servant to join SMRT'. Print Edition | Subscribe