Lui Tuck Yew

Thank you for the unstinting support

Below is a letter Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew wrote to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday on Mr Lui's decision not to stand for re-election, as well as PM Lee's letter in response.

Dear Prime Minister,

It is with deep regret that I confirm my decision not to stand for re-election in the coming General Election.

I broached this subject with you early this year. You and several senior members of the Cabinet tried hard to persuade me to change my mind. You reminded me that the responsibility of Government was a collective one, and no minister carried difficult problems like public transport alone. I deeply appreciate the reassurance and support. But having thought the matter over carefully, I have decided that I should stand by my original decision.

I thank you for the unstinting support you have personally given to the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and me. For example, expenditure on new buses and trains as well as to expand and upgrade the rail network, airport and port is higher than ever before and will continue to rise.

The injection of new capacity has started to ease congestion on buses and trains. It has helped us serve our commuters better. The BSEP (Bus Service Enhancement Programme) has produced shorter waiting times, new routes and less crowded buses. New trains have been introduced and the total train fleet will continue to grow some 50 per cent over the next three to four years. The entire Downtown Line will open within the next 24-30 months. This will add capacity and resilience to the overall rail network, especially along the East-West corridor. As for reliability, train delays and withdrawals across all lines have been reduced.

But we have had some setbacks, including two major disruptions on the NSEW (North-South East-West) lines. Large-scale or prolonged disruptions still happen more frequently than is acceptable. We have embarked on major upgrades and initiated further efforts in the last quarter to identify additional areas that need systematic renewal and strengthen overall maintenance practices.

Given the nature and scale of our rail network, these improvements will take time. But the measures we have put in place will allow our problems to be progressively dealt with and resolved. I am proud of the good work my team at MOT and LTA (Land Transport Authority) have done.

I have put my utmost into fulfilling my responsibilities. I thank you for letting me know your intention to reappoint me as a Cabinet minister, if I was to be re-elected at the coming General Election. But the General Election also provides an opportunity for me to step back from politics without causing any major disruption to Government at the end of its term. You are also bringing in new potential office-holders to strengthen Cabinet.

Truly, it has been an honour and a privilege for me to serve in your Cabinet. It has also been an honour and privilege to serve alongside a splendid team of activists, GRLs (grassroots leaders) and MPs, the residents of Moulmein and the larger Tanjong Pagar and Moulmein-Kallang GRCs.

Finally, I wish you and my colleagues every success as you lead our beloved country beyond SG50.

Yours sincerely,
Lui Tuck Yew
Aug 11, 2015

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2015, with the headline 'Thank you for the unstinting support'. Print Edition | Subscribe