'Eulogies without flowers' for Lui

Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew speaking at the Ministry of Transport’s SG50 gala dinner on Aug 12.
Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew speaking at the Ministry of Transport’s SG50 gala dinner on Aug 12.PHOTO: ST FILE

In the two days since news broke that Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew would leave politics, he has been inundated with e-mails from Singaporeans thanking him for his work.

It was interesting, he said, that about 20 per cent of them regretted not speaking up more against negative comments online or being too critical of him.

Mr Lui, however, would not elaborate on why he is leaving, during his interview with The Straits Times yesterday.

"There are so many articles and it's almost like obituaries and eulogies (but) without the flowers," he said. "Ultimately, it's a personal decision."

Mr Lui took on the difficult transport portfolio after the 2011 general election, and in the past four years, many improvements were made in the transport sector.

He said new buses, trains and routes have been added, improving reliability and reducing waiting time. But prolonged MRT disruptions "are still at an unacceptably high level".

On July 7, over 250,000 people were affected when trains on the North-South and East-West lines were halted for over two hours during the evening peak period.

Declining to dwell on comments about his work, he said: "At the end of the day, it should be about transport rather than one man behind transport."

He also indicated he was not affected by the criticisms levelled at him in recent years, saying: "In politics, you need a tender heart and a thick skin, not a hard heart and thin skin. My heart, my skin, like all my body parts, are fine."

He added: "One question was, Did I have the support of Cabinet members? Yes, fully."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2015, with the headline ''Eulogies without flowers' for Lui'. Print Edition | Subscribe