Ex-SAF Chief Infantry Officer BG (NS) Winston Toh to head Tower Transit bus operator

The Tower Transit Group announced on Fri (18 Jan) that it has appointed former SAF Chief Infantry Officer, BG (NS) Winston Toh, as the Managing Director of its Singapore bus operations. He takes the reins at Tower Transit Singapore on 1 February next month. The Tower Transit Group is one of the bus operators in Singapore.

BG (NS) Toh spent 27 years in the SAF where he rose to the rank of Brigadier General. He was Commander of 9th Division and Chief Infantry Officer. He has a Master of Science in Strategic Studies and a Master of Arts in Diplomacy.

After SAF, he join ST Electronics (e-Services) Pte Ltd as its General Manager, before going back to the public sector as Deputy CEO of Singapore Workforce Development Agency (now SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore), a statutory board under MOM.

He was with WDA for few years before moving to ST Engineering – a company owned by Temasek – as its Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, where he oversaw international sales and marketing in ST Engineering.

“Finding the right person to lead Tower Transit Singapore is critical because of how important Singapore is to us. Singapore’s reputation as a leader in public transport planning is quickly growing around the world, driven by a forward-thinking government that’s actively exploring and testing new technologies in passenger transport. We’re proud to operate here; we’ve sunk our roots and become part of the community, with close to 70% of our bus captains being citizens and permanent residents,” said Tower Transit Chairman Neil Smith.

“Winston’s experience in leadership, business development, operations and organisational transformation combined with his ability to inspire people to get behind a vision will be extremely valuable to Tower Transit Singapore. His appointment as Managing Director is an integral part of our plan to grow our business here and strengthen our ties to the community and our stakeholders. I’m confident he will add a great deal of value to the business and our relationships with our staff, our passengers and our client the Land Transport Authority,” he added.

BG (NS) Toh said, “I’ve visited Tower Transit Singapore’s Bulim depot to say hello to people and get an early feel of the ground. It’s a good feeling stepping into a company where staff are happy to work and where the culture is open.”

“I intend to encourage that spirit of excellence and innovation and hope to use my experience to build on those foundations to deliver a best-in-class service for our passengers and the LTA,” he added.

Bus drivers went on strike under another SAF general

Another general, LG (NS) Desmond Kuek who is the former Chief of Defence Force, also headed a bus operator, SMRT Corporation, once. LG (NS) Kuek also brought in many of his former SAF staff into SMRT.

In 2012, 171 of SMRT bus drivers refused to go to work, and 88 were absent from work the next day. It was the first strike in Singapore since the Hydril strike in 1986.

The protestors, who were all Chinese nationals, were aggrieved at the disparity between their wages and those of their Malaysian counterparts. They were also disgruntled at the poor living conditions and how their complaints had been ignored. The two-day strike was deemed illegal under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act, as the workers had disrupted an essential service without the requisite two weeks’ notice. There were delays in some 10 percent of SMRT’s bus services on the first day of the strike, and five percent on the following day.

Then, SMRT CEO LG (NS) Desmond Kuek admitted that the strike could have been avoided if the bus drivers’ supervisors had been more sensitive and responsive to the drivers’ complaints.

It remains to be seen if BG (NS) Toh would handle Tower Transit bus operations better than what LG (NS) Kuek did in SMRT.


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