Sunday , April 11 2021

"There are no poor soldiers, only poor leaders": the head of the SMRT, Neo Kian Hong, says that the commitment of the staff is fundamental

SINGAPUR: SMRT's chief executive, Neo Kian Hong, said there are "no deep cultural issues" within the company as suggested by predecessor Desmond Kuek and stressed that he will use a practical approach to involve staff.

Talking to journalists on Friday (November 16) in the Kim Chuan deposit, Mr. Neo, former head of defense force, used a military analogy to emphasize that SMRT management must assume responsibility for the company's performance.

"In some other military, they use this term -" there are no poor soldiers, there are only poor leaders, "said Mr. Neo." This is a team sport. The entire organization is needed. "

Mr. Neo, who replaced former CEO Desmond Kuek on August 1, also disagreed with Mr. Kuek's assessment after a tunnel that flooded last year that there were "deep cultural problems" within the company.

"I have been walking to the ground for a few months and I saw very enthusiastic people and very hard people," said Mr. Neo. "I do not agree with the term" deep culture ", because that is not my experience when I participate with the ground.

He emphasized that he was dealing with leadership and "commitment on the ground".

"If we are able to give you the tools, if we are able to support them to do their work, if we can get them to see the larger image they really appreciate … I am pretty sure that people will do it."


Mr. Neo also wished to emphasize that SMRT personnel are "hardworking and motivating" even in "burdensome" conditions.

Given the example of a team, work was done to grind a tunnel during the first hours of the morning, Mr. Neo said that they did not activate the fans of the tunnel to prevent the residents from disturbing the neighborhood.

"When I see all this, I understand that our people are the key," he said.

Mr. Neo, who sold his car to take public transportation to understand problems that travelers face every day, said their problems had become personal to him.

"I thought it was important for me to experience the MRT for me," he added. "When I feel in a room and I hear informative sessions about maintenance problems … and then I get feedback from travelers about … the heat, the smell, I do not know what they are talking about.

"And when the smell is totally personal," he said.

It also makes a point to visit the staff that works in the MRT tunnels "two to three times" per week.

"It's hard to work the night and you know exactly how it feels," he said. "I look at the eyes, I know there is a commitment and I know they are proud of doing the job."

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