Standing Ovation For Lui Tuck Yew

Immediately after PM Lee Hsien Loong announced that Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew will not stand for re-election, all the well wishes for Lui Tuck Yew starts to pour in.

Lee Hsien Loong

PM Lee Hsien Loong announced that Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew will not stand for re-election
PM Lee Hsien Loong announced that Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew will not stand for re-election

Lui Tuck Yew has told me that he does not wish to stand again in the coming General Election, and I have reluctantly accepted his decision. He had told me this early this year. My senior colleagues and I tried hard to change his mind, and are disappointed that we did not succeed.

Tuck Yew has done a lot for my team and for Singapore over the last decade, especially these last four years as Minister for Transport. When I asked him to go to MOT in 2011, we both knew that I was giving him a very difficult job, but he did not hesitate. There were urgent things to be done, and public expectations were high.

He put his heart and soul into the task, and made many improvements to the public transport system. The benefits will be seen in the coming years. The job is not yet complete, but we are heading in the right direction.

Besides Transport, Tuck Yew also served in the Ministries of Information, Communications and the Arts, Foreign Affairs and Defence. As an MP in Moulmein, he has worked to improve the lives of his residents.

We will miss Tuck Yew. I thank him for all that he has done for Singapore over the last decade, and wish him all the best in future. – LHL

(Midnight visit to SMRT Bishan Depot in May 2015. / MCI File Photo by Terence Tan)

Yaacob Ibrahim

Yaacob Ibrahim,  Moulmein-Kallang Community
Yaacob Ibrahim, Moulmein-Kallang Community

It has been my privilege to serve alongside Lui Tuck Yew in Moulmein-Kallang GRC these last 4 years. Be it at our market visits, community events or the late night Meet-The-People’s sessions, Tuck Yew’s commitment to his residents is unwavering, and the residents and I are sad to see him go. We have been colleagues for almost 10 years now. During this time, Tuck Yew has handled diverse portfolios, including education, communications, defence and transport. He has always had a heart for Singaporeans, and strives to do his best for their needs.

On behalf of the Moulmein-Kallang residents, I would like to thank Tuck Yew for his dedication and wish him all the very best. #yaacobibrahim

Tuck Yew’s contributions will be sorely missed by the team. He has been a stalwart in steering us through very challenging circumstances in the transport sector. I have the opportunity to see his dedication and meticulousness first hand, and it was a privilege to learn from Tuck Yew. His commitment to make things better has never failed to impress me.

During his time in the transport ministry, he has put in place plans that will not only manage today’s challenges but also tomorrow’s demands.

We are also thankful for Tuck Yew’s care and concern for the transport sector workers. He always had the interests of our workers in his heart as he tackled the many challenges in the transport sector.

Thankful for Tuck Yew’s contributions and we wish him and his family all the best.

Denise Phua Lay Peng

Denise Phua Lay Peng
Denise Phua Lay Peng

Lui Tuck Yew and I entered politics in the same year, 2006. He announced his stepping down from politics and will not contest in the upcoming General Elections.

Tuck Yew is a man of integrity, principles and honour. When approached by PM, he accepted what he knew then was one of the most challenging portfolios in Cabinet, the job of Transport Minister. He had witnessed what past transport ministers went through professionally and personally ; but I had never heard him complain.

Tuck Yew calmly took strategic decisions to address the transport issues in maintenance, train line extensions, bus and train service enhancements. The root causes for our transport problems were several and significant; and required careful analysis and resourcing. The positive outcomes of the measures put in place will mostly be felt in the next few years.

The major train disruptions did not stop immediately and Tuck Yew took the brunt of public anger. He took criticisms and online flaming in his stride, and quietly focused on resolving problems on the ground. I wish he had stayed on to see the fruits of his labour.

As my GRC team mate, Tuck Yew is a diligent and sincere leader who treats his residents, grassroots and activists with respect and dignity. No airs. No wayang. Full of heart.

Both Tuck Yew and I take care of parts of Little India where the most serious of riots in Singapore in 40 years erupted during our term of service . We served closely in the aftermath of the shocking Little India riot, working on policies and legislation to restore normalcy and a sense of security for our residents. He was always cool, calm and considerate.

Whenever I approached him for help on road and transport problems faced by my more vulnerable residents, Tuck Yew would always study the facts and he would never say no to doing the right thing. The latest he did for my numerous elderly and needy residents in the Beach Road estate was to construct a lift for an overhead pedestrian bridge (OHB), although this is usually reserved for OHBs near heavily-used MRTs.

I will really miss him.

Denise Phua
11 August 2015
Ang Hin Kee
Ang Hin Kee

Back in April 2012, when I was into my first year as MP for AMK GRC, Minister Lui Tuck Yew visited Cheng San Seletar; he heard concerns about transport & other issues relating to connectivity. Today, we benefitted fr Bus Service Enhancement Prog w more buses in this area; coming improvements incl a cycling masterplan, sheltered link ways to mrt station, noise barriers along mrt track & even lifts to our pedestrian overhead bridge along Ave 3 etc. Thank you Minister, for making the town more connected & convenient

I am distraught that Minister Lui Tuck Yew is stepping down.

I have known Mr. Lui since I was an 18 year old JC student when as a LTC in the Navy, he mentored me for the Temasek Seminar. He was very patient with me and taught me a lot, despite his busy schedule. Mr. Lui is kind, humorous and does not not have a single
bad bone in him. He also possesses a first-class mind.

Being Minister of Transport is a thankless job. Has there been a Transport Minister that has been loved? Yeo Ning Hong, Mah Bow Tan, Yeo Cheow Tong, Raymond Lim – his predecessors all had to deal with the same inherent un-squarable circles. To ensure a controlled population of cars needs a quota. But with a quota, prices go up as more affluent Singaporeans can afford to bid more. On public transport, every time prices go up by even 2%, people cry bloody murder. Yet, nobody wants to admit that fares have to be paid for either by taxes or commercially, and it is the same thing in the end.

Mr. Lui took over a public transport system in 2011 that faced many challenges. I do not want to go into details about the reasons here as it has been covered elsewhere, but suffice to say, it was not Mr. Lui’s fault.

Under the circumstances, he did his level best. COE prices were stabilised, and the bus operation system changed to a public-private partnership model and tendered out to foreign companies.

The train system would take time to improve since MRT lines, unlike housing cannot be built in 4 years. Maintenance is difficult when unlike in other cities, entire lines cannot be shut down for months for repair.

In the meantime, Mr. Lui continued suffering abuse that he did not deserve. Whenever a train broke down, he was abused. Whenever, bus fares went up, he was abused. Whenever COE results were announced, he was abused.

I would like to ask everyone to take a moment and reflect whether any human being, doing his job, regardless of how highly he is paid, deserves such abuse.

If we continue to treat our public servants and Ministers like that, no pay will entice capable people from stepping forward to serve.

In such a scenario, Singapore will only get second-rate people to lead us, people who will gladly suffer abuse because they have no better option. The best people however do.

And if we get second-rate leaders because of this, Singapore deserves it.

In the meantime, from the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you to Mr. Lui for doing a thankless job.

I am certain that in whatever profession he chooses after this, he will be a much happier man.



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