Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew to step down at next GE

PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Transport Minister Mr Lui Tuck Yew will not stand for re-election at the upcoming General Election, despite attempts by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and others in the Cabinet to change his mind.

In an exchange of letters between Mr Lui and Mr Lee that was released by the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday, Mr Lee said that he had "reluctantly accepted" Mr Lui's decision.

Mr Lui is currently Member of Parliament for Moulmein-Kallang GRC, which has been dissolved for the next election.

In the letters, Mr Lui revealed he had first broached the subject of not standing for re-election early this year, but several Cabinet members, including Mr Lee, had tried to change his 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," Mr Lui wrote.

However, he said that he had decided to stand by his original decision.

In his letter, Mr Lui thanked the prime minister for his support to the Transport Ministry, including expenditure on new buses and trains, as well as for expanding and upgrading the rail network, airport and port.

"The injection of new capacity has started to ease congestion on buses and trains. It has helped us serve our commuters better," he wrote.

However, he also cited setbacks like the two major disruptions on the North-South and East-West lines, adding that "large-scale or prolonged disruptions still happen more frequently than is acceptable."

In response to Mr Lui's letter, the Prime Minister disclosed that Mr Lui "did not hesitate" when asked to helm the Transport Ministry in 2011, despite knowing that it would be a difficult job.

Said Mr Lee: "You put your heart and soul into the task. 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."

Mr Lee concluded: "You served with distinction and dedication in all your postings. You will be missed. I would like to thank you for all that you have done for my team and for Singapore over the last decade."

Mr Lui, 54, was previously Chief of Navy in the Singapore Armed Forces. He also served as chief executive of the Maritime and Port Authority and the Housing and Development Board before entering politics in 2006.

Besides the Transport Ministry, he has also held roles in the ministries of Education, Information, Communications and the Arts, Foreign Affairs and Defence. Prior to becoming Transport Minister, he had served as Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts in 2010.

See also: More stories on the upcoming General Election