CEO of Singapore metro train operator quits
SINGAPORE – Singapore’s metro train operator said Friday its chief executive had resigned amid strong public criticism over the worst breakdown since the system was launched 24 years ago.
SMRT Corp said that the firm’s board of directors had accepted the resignation offer of chief executive Saw Phaik Hwa.
Board member Tan Ek Kia, a former oil industry executive, will lead SMRT while the board searches for a new CEO, the company said in a filing with the Singapore Exchange.
The resignation came amid public anger over two major breakdowns in the train service that happened in succession last month that stranded tens of thousands of commuters.
Many of the commuters were trapped in trains stalled underground after a power fault hit the SMRT network’s North-South line during the evening rush hour.
In one of the breakdowns, service was disrupted for seven hours.
Last month’s disruptions were the worst since the city-state’s Mass Rapid Transit system was launched in 1987.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has ordered the creation of a special committee to investigate the breakdown, saying that confidence in the system must be restored.
The publicly listed metro operator is 54 percent owned by state investment agency Temasek Holdings, as of March 2011.
Singapore has a population of just over five million. Most are dependent on public transport because of the prohibitive cost of cars.
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