SINGAPORE: Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew's decision not to contest the upcoming General Election is "quite disappointing" and a loss to the Cabinet, leader of the Opposition Low Thia Khiang said on Wednesday (Aug 12).
"I thought he is a hardworking minister and he goes to the ground and tried his best to resolve issues," the Workers' Party secretary-general told reporters on the sidelines of the Meet the People Session at Bedok Reservoir Road.
Mr Low pointed out that Mr Lui is "relatively young" and could still contribute to the Cabinet given his experience helming different ministries. The 53-year-old Mr Lui is also Second Minister for Defence.
"I thought the standard ethos of the PAP is that resignation doesn't solve the problem. You have to stay on to solve the problem as a minister, so I cannot understand why it happened at this time."
He said members of the public would want more answers on the lead-up to Mr Lui's decision. "Despite the problems of (MRT) breakdowns, he inherited the problem from the past," he said.
"From my perspective, from what I've seen on the ground. He tried his best," said Mr Low. "It's my understanding he has managed to convince Cabinet to spend quite a lot of money on 500 additional buses to solve some of the problems. You can see certain effects of it."
He noted that under Mr Lui's leadership, the Ministry of Transport oversaw the rollout of a new government-contracting model for the bus industry, which Mr Low said is a move "in the right direction".
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday revealed that he and other senior members of his Cabinet had tried unsuccessfully to change Mr Lui's mind on the matter. Mr Lui had said his departure once the General Election is called provides him an opportunity to step back from politics without causing any major disruption to the Government at the end of its term.