Singapore

Lui Tuck Yew to step down from politics

Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew has announced that he will step down from office after the upcoming general election.

In a letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong dated Tuesday (Aug 11) that was released to the media,  Mr Lui wrote: "It is with deep regret that I confirm my decision not to stand for re-election in the coming General Election."

Mr Lui will be the second Transport Minister to step down in successive GEs, after Mr Raymond Lim also stepped down after the 2011 GE. Transport was one of the most contentious issues in the last GE and continues to this day due to the increasing frequency of train break-downs.

Mr Lui had spoken about his future with Mr Lee earlier in the year.

Despite the efforts of Mr Lee and several other Cabinet ministers to persuade him to stay on, the Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP opted to stand by his original decision.

Unstinting support

Mr Lui thanked Mr Lee for the "unstinting support" shown to him and the Ministry of Transport (MOT), including "higher than ever" expenditure for Singapore's transport infrastructure across land, air and sea.

In his missive, the 53-year-old touched on the improvements that have been made in the transport sector, including the introduction of new buses and trains that have congestion and improve waiting times.

While he admitted that his team had faced setbacks including several high-profile MRT breakdowns, Mr Lui was adamant that plans were being put in place to deal with the issue of train reliability.

He said: "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."

Right time

With the People's Action Party (PAP) bringing in new blood for the upcoming elections, Mr Lui felt it was the right time to step aside.

"I thank you for letting me know your intention to re-appoint me as a Cabinet Minister, if I was to be re-elected at the coming General Election," he wrote.

"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."

In response, PM Lee wrote that he "reluctantly" accepted Mr Lui's decision and was "disappointed" that he was unable to change Mr Lui's mind.

PM Lee thanked Mr Lui for his "very good work as Minister for Transport", a role that Mr Lui accepted in 2011 with "urgent things to be done" amid high public expectations.

Heart and soul

"You put your heart and soul into the task," wrote PM Lee.

"As a result, we made significant progress over the last four years.

"The job is not yet complete, as we are reminded from time to time when train services break down.

"But despite these incidents, I am confident that we are heading in the right direction, to get the public transport system that Singaporeans deserve."

Click on the thumbnails to view the two letters in full:

Singapore ElectionspoliticsSingaporeLui Tuck YewUncategorisedMinistry of Transportletter