image from hereAll of sudden there seems to be deluge of bad news for SMRT. The latest involves a woman who fell and and sustained a head injury. Apparently she remains in coma. Gigamole wishes her well.
The public outcry against the SMRT is both understandable and justified. The hounds are now baying for the head of the CEO, Saw Phaik Hwa. The mass media has been particularly unkind, I think, and has dug up as many photos as they have on file that portray her in the most unflattering light.
However, Gigamole somehow feels this antipathy against the CEO has been somewhat misplaced. Yes, because she heads the SMRT, the responsibility for all the mishaps falls squarely on her lap. Bt we should not forget that as CEO she acts upon the guidance of the SMRT Board. It was also the SMRT Board who examined her credentials and appointed her to the post. It was the SMRT Board who crafted up the directions and strategies for the CEO. By appointing Ms Saw to the post, the Board obviously prioritized the retail agenda above operational and service needs. Whether they did this as a conscious strategic decision is unclear. It may well have been it seemed like an OK thing to do at that time, and only now shown to be inappropriate.
It seems clear at the moment that the SMRT CEO did all she could within her capabilities. Unfortunately though her experience was principally in retail and marketing. Was she someone who had a good insight into the technical/engineering and operation needs of the SMRT? Should we blame her for lapses in areas outside her expertise. Yes, as she is CEO; but not entirely, as the Board should account for why they did not think operational/service skills were critically important for a train and transport company. Transport Minister Lui was spot on when he picked up the phone to speak with Chairman SMRT. This is a problem squarely shared by the Board and Management.
So for those who are happily shooting off arrows at Ms Saw, hold your fire a bit, and see if perhaps some of the arrows need to be redirected towards the SMRT Board.