Give ministers more power over transport firms

I was dismayed to learn that Mr Lui Tuck Yew, who in his early 50s, will be leaving politics at a prime age for a politician ("Lui Tuck Yew decides to leave politics"; Wednesday).

His sudden announcement to quit politics just before the upcoming general election may leave some with the wrong impression that he is being made the "fall guy" for public displeasure over the nation's debilitating rail disruptions. This impression is not helped by the prior announcement that Mr Lui's constituency would be dissolved.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong observed that Mr Lui had "put heart and soul into the task" - a sentiment that I share.

Yet, despite his efforts, why was Mr Lui not able to curb rail breakdowns? Did he not have sufficient control over rail operators?

SMRT was fined on more than one occasion, yet service breakdowns persisted.

The next transport minister should be given more control over public transport companies, including the authority to remove company executives, if needed.

Despite his short tenure, Mr Lui was a dedicated transport minister and did make many contributions ("Significant changes made, say transport experts"; Wednesday).

Chan Yeow Chuan

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