In our series The Road to #SGElections, we did warn you that the election fervour will intensify and that the Jubilee Celebrations over the weekend was but just a respite.
This afternoon – Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew announced that he will be stepping down and leaving politics.
Social media chatter became a (train) wreck and GE speculators nearly had a (train) break down
(pun intended . . get it ?)
Lui Tuck Yew was every Singaporean favourite minister to haul abuse at; MRT breakdown – (F) Tuck Yew, over crowding – (F) Tuck Yew, SMRT late or delayed – (F) Tuck Yew, Fare increase – (F) Tuck Yew, COE skyrocketed – (F) Tuck Yew
Everything also we say (F) Tuck Yew and blame it on poor him. We are ashame to admit this but we too were part of that group – Everything also (F) Tuck Yew
What has Lui Tuck Yew done in retaliation? – Nothing.
Instead, he bowed and nodded, he went to the ground, got his hands dirty and lead from the front. He assured us that he understood our problems and that he will do his best to minimise the inconvenience.
Instead of lashing out at the hatred, taking it out on social media or glorying his past achievements, he worked harder.
- The Downtown Line 2 opened ahead of schedule in December well ahead of its 2016 timeline. (Source)
- The number of new trains have nearly doubled since 2011 and as a result commuters now experience shorter waiting times during peak and non-peak periods. (Source)
- The rail network has been upgraded to increase the frequency of the trains and improve its reliability (Source)
- There are now more connections than ever before to help connect Singaporeans reach their destinations all over Singapore. (Source)
- There are now more free wifi access at station platforms (Source)
- In light of these improvements, he also continued to fight for lower transport fares and manage to lower it by 1.9% during the latest price adjustment. A move which meant the world to the lower income group.(Source)
Lui Tuck Yew really had the odds stacked against him, when he first took over as Minister for Transport, he was already facing two main issues – overcrowding and infrastructural reliability.
He tried to overcome overcrowding by getting more trains and networks and increase each and every of the trains frequency.
For infrastructural reliability, he drilled into SMRT operators a rigorous maintenance regime. Checklists were digitised to minimise human error and they adopted the ‘predict and prevent’ approach to solve the breakdown issues.
You see, Lui Tuck Yew was a military man – he was a Chief of Navy and in the Navy, they don’t quit. They fight for the men who fought next them. Lui Tuck Yew with all his resources, fought for all Singaporeans to have a better transport system.
Singaporeans just refused to see that this was possible from a PAP Minister
On multiple times, Lui Tuck Yew tried explaining to Singaporeans that we are indeed a fortunate bunch, that our breakdowns were nothing as compared to other first world countries, that our fares are relatively cheaper than all other first world countries. That we have freaking air-con in all our buses and trains. That all of them are wheelchair friendly.
As news broke that Lui Tuck Yew has stepped down as Transport Minister. Netizens speculated that he was running away or that he was fired for doing a poor job.
(Pic by SGAG)
Singaporeans demand a system that never breaks down and to enjoy maximum convenience in all aspects (the more the better). They demand all these while insisting that it is their birth right to have fares pegged to 1990s standard. (i.e 50 cents)
Lui Tuck Yew did not run away. Neither was he fired.
The truth is actually much closer to the heart.
Lui Tuck Yew has put in place plans that will not only manage today’s challenges but also tomorrow’s demands. He has nothing to prove to Singaporeans because Singapore transport system is already one of the best in the in the region. What he lacks is perhaps time to see his plans come to fruitation.
Singaporeans need to stop believing the propaganda that they have created for themselves about our transport system (i.e our transport cannot make it) and stop and look at our transport in its totality.
Lui Tuck Yew, we salute you. You gave your best and that is all that matters.
On this note – if Singaporeans think that opposition MPs (e.g Low Thia Kiang, Goh Meng Seng, etc) can do a better job, we would like to see them try.