SMRT Breakdowns – Will There Be Resignations & Bonus Payback From Those Responsible?

By Tan Jee Say

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew told Parliament on 10 July 2012, "SMRT's maintenance regime had shortcomings, but we too — both MoT, as the supervising ministry, and LTA, as the regulator — have to shoulder our share of the responsibility." (LTA fell short in its responsibility)

A week has passed. What concrete steps have been taken to show for shouldering this responsibility by Minister Lui as supervising minister and other officials in his ministry, LTA and SMRT? Yes the CEO had resigned but did she 'walk' out too easily? Senior corporate managers elsewhere not only gave up their jobs but also returned the huge salaries and bonuses they were awarded during their time in the companies even though they were not directly responsible for the lapses.

For example, the chief investment officer at J P Morgan lost her job and had to pay back the equivalent of two years of her compensation (about S$38 million) for errors committed by traders under her charge. The traders also lost their jobs and paid back their compensation. See accompanying story below.

Has a similar sense of ownership been shown by those responsible for the SMRT breakdowns directly or indirectly? Will they at the very minimum, volunteer to return the bulk of salaries, bonuses and directors' fees to help SMRT pay for the investigation fees of more than $4 million and other expenses? And yes, will some of them also volunteer to move out of their present positions too?

Minister Lui, will you walk the talk? Singapore is watching and waiting.