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Exchange of letters between PM Lee and Lui Tuck Yew
Letter from Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew
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 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 to 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 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 have done.
I have put my utmost into fulfilling my responsibilities. 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. 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.
Lui Tuck Yew
11 August 2015
Letter from PM Lee Hsien Loong
11 August 2015
Dear Tuck Yew,
Thank you for your letter informing me that you have decided not to stand in the coming General Election. I reluctantly accept your decision, though I am disappointed that I did not succeed in changing your mind.
You have done very good work as Minister for Transport. When I asked you to helm the Ministry in 2011, we both knew that you had a very difficult job, but you did not hesitate to take up the challenge. There were urgent things to be done, especially expanding and improving the public transport system. Public expectations were high.
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.
Your role in setting policies, implementing major projects and supervising the operation of the public transport network has contributed critically to this progress. You have put in place many improvements whose benefit will be seen only in the coming years, and which will make a lasting difference to the public transport system.
My senior colleagues share my view that you have more to contribute, both in transport and in other areas in government. We discussed the matter with you several times, but could not persuade you to continue. So I have no choice but to accept your decision not to stand for election again.
You entered Parliament in 2006 as Member of Parliament for Moulmein, which later became part of Moulmein-Kallang GRC. As an MP, you worked tirelessly for almost a decade in Moulmein to improve the lives of your residents. You served in several ministries. Before Transport, you were Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, where under your watch, the arts and cultural scene flourished. You have also served in Foreign Affairs and Defence. 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. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours, and look forward to your continuing contributions, in other roles, towards our nation building beyond SG50.
With all good wishes to you and your family.
Lee Hsien Loong