SMRT must retain good practices even as it fixes "bad ones"

Transport operator SMRT must retain its good practices even as the new management led by chief executive Desmond Kuek goes about correcting "bad ones", said Minister of State for Transport and Finance Josephine Teo.

"Anyone who takes over a position will inherit good and bad things left by his or her predecessor," said Mrs Teo on the sidelines of an event at the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Bishan on Thursday morning.

"That Desmond Kuek has recognised this is a good starting point (but) how he will go about doing this, we have to wait and see, but I believe most people will be more reassured if this reshuffle is done quickly and smoothly."

Mr Kuek, who was former Chief of Defence Force, joined SMRT on Oct 1, taking over the seat vacated by Ms Saw Phaik Hwa, who left the company in January about a month after two major train breakdowns.

The severity of the breakdowns led to the incidents being investigated by a Committee of Inquiry.

Mrs Teo's comments come after Mr Kuek revealed plans recently for a major management reshuffle, which involves key appointments at SMRT.

She also addressed the protest by the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions outside the Singapore Embassy in Hong Kong on Wednesday, over the treatment of the Chinese SMRT bus drivers who were charged for instigating the strike last week.

"It is their prerogative to do what they want, but in Singapore we must follow Singapore's laws," she said.