SINGAPORE: There is no excuse for anyone to physically or verbally abuse bus drivers, said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung on Sunday (Aug 23), while expressing his appreciation for them.
"We may live in uncertain times due to COVID-19 ... The last thing we need on a bus is an uncooperative and abusive passenger," said the minister on his Facebook post.
Mr Ong added that the bus captains begin their days as early as 4am, ensuring that passengers get to schools, offices and errands "in a timely and safe manner".
"Graciousness is the cornerstone of a caring society. Let's be there for our bus uncles and aunties," said Mr Ong.
His post comes four days after a Facebook user posted a live video of himself threatening to sue a bus driver, who had refused to let him board the bus as he was wearing a neck gaiter instead of a face mask.
The SBS Transit bus driver was seen calling his company for help while the man used abusive language on him and said the driver's actions were racially motivated.
In the video, another passenger offered a mask but the man refused to accept it.
Police officers later arrived at the scene and in a comment to his post, the man claimed that the officers "accepted my mask as valid".
Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 and its regulations, a mask "includes any paper or textile covering designed or made to be worn over the nose and mouth to provide the wearer protection against infections or air pollution, but excludes a face shield".
In response to CNA's queries, the Ministry of Health said that it "does not recommend the use of neck gaiters and bandanas as masks".
Anyone who has respiratory symptoms such as cough and runny nose, or those who are more vulnerable or at risk of infection should wear surgical masks or reusable masks with better filtration capabilities, said the ministry.
"These include seniors aged 60 years old and above, persons with other concurrent medical conditions (such as diabetes, heart conditions), and persons interacting with (such as providing care to) someone who has respiratory symptoms."