Lui Tuck Yew – Agent of change

I can’t remember praising any minister in the past, or at least not the new ministers. The pioneers were different as they were the pathfinders, the people who set the stage for the play today, selflessly. It is hard to praise the ministers now as they have held themselves up as supermen and superwomen and thus are expected to do super works. Mediocrity is not acceptable from super beans. And with the super pay they are claiming for themselves, anyone talking about sacrifices need to be stuffed with shit in their mouths.

The expectation is superlative. But when mediocrity is the order of the day, anything better is betterer and deserves some encouragement. I was watching in Parliament last night on telly and two ministers stood out for mentioning. Lui Tuck Yew is one of them. He came across as someone with a mission to do a big repair job. And he is earnest and tuned up for it.

The transportation mess that he inherited would have to be dealt with in a different light. The causes, the past assumptions, must be thrown into the dustbin and a new set of assumptions need to be put right. Wrong assumptions would lead to wrong results though perfectly logically and defendable. When 1 is 3 and 2 is 4, 1 + 2 = 7. Logic. No one can argue against such thinking.

The angst against public transportation was likely to be the result of a different set of perverse assumptions, eg, maximization of profits and with the Tokyo train as the role model to surpass. The comfort and graciousness of the people were not factors for consideration. Maximising profit would mean longer waiting time and jam packed trains to benefit the shareholders and big bonuses for the top management. Scintillating profit numbers are so good to look at. Then there is the added Tokyo standard to surpass. Jam packed train will only be at best as good as Tokyo’s. To surpass that, the trains must be bulging at the sides. Only then can it claim to be better than Tokyo’s.

What Tuck Yew has done is to dismantle such beliefs. Commuter comfort, efficiency and graciousness are equally important, or more important. More trains and buses will be added to reduce waiting time. The desired 95% load will be cut to 85% to provide more comfort and breathing space for the commuters. There will be overall increases in the number of trips run by trains and buses.

The new assumptions and standards would definitely make public transportation much better and tolerable than the standards of the past. There will be big costs involved but temporarily this will be delayed till a later date.

The changes are major especially in the mindset. Maximising profit has taken a rubbing for the moment to give way to commuter’s interests. Just hope the fare hike will not be too prohibitive and the Govt will give a helping hand. Public transportation is not simply a service and to be run primarily for profits alone. Public transportation affects our way of life, the way businesses are done, business costs, people’s costs, social and economic costs. Bringing public transportation cost down will benefit everyone and everything, including business and the govt. It is a big change for the better.


jjgg said...

Gd morning RB ...this is a direct result of the govt palming it's social responsibilities to the private sector. Now you have the absurd situation of trying to do reverse engineering...sooner or later..other sectors will similarly implode..eg healthcare...communications..the earlier the fat cats realise that private sector motivation is not same as public sector the better...that's why we pay taxes....stupid!!!!

Anonymous said...

And this is the same guy who said that for maximum efficiency, we should leave it to the private sector, who are 'guaranteed' of profits. And now taxpayers are funding this 'efficiency' for the good of the taxpayers/commuters? What a cruel joke!

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

He seems serious to want to make things better. But there are still many traps that are preventing them to do the right thing. And privatisation is something that they are caught with, like affordability, and keeping property prices high and foreigners at talents here to help us.

What a stupid statement. What it means is that the whole govt is inefficient because it is not privatised. Now who is daft?

Anonymous said...

Lui Tuck Yew appears to be doing his job and let's wait for the results.
You see, votes for the opposition keep the government on their toes.

Anonymous said...

Let's keep the man separate from his ideas & proposals.

A good man can have good or bad ideas at any one point in time.

The question is why are we (tax payers) giving $1.2 billion dollars to private, profitable bus companies?

Why can't the bus companies raise the money themselves?
a. rights issues of more shares
b. reduce dividend payouts
c. issue new corporate bonds
d. borrow the money from the banks

Alternatively ask Gerard Ee to convene a committee of inquiry to explore alternatives.

Anonymous said...

SBS Transit paid out $22.8 million in dividends in 31st Dec 2011.

SMRT paid $117.5 million in dividends in 2010.

So estimated combined dividend payout to shareholders' of the 2 companies = $140.3 million.

So if both companies stop their dividend payments for 7.8 years
($1100 million divide by $140.3 million = 7.8 years.)

The 2 companies can finance the $1.1 billion themselves.

No need subsidy from Singapore taxpayers.
No danger of a welfare mentality to Singapore.
The 2 companies can continue to claim they achieve world class by their own meritocratic efforts.



Anonymous said...

talk, all TALK. nothing but talk. same as with all the garbage about the PAP will change, it is changing, it has changed. it's all just words! flats for instance are Still unaffordable.

show us the action!!!

Anonymous said...


some Singaporeans just do not change; a little thing done right and they praise it to the sky. The next time the same guys/gals leave a bitter taste, they swear and curse. And it repeat again and again.

Come on, it is the loss of a GRC and the Alternative Media that are forcing some parliamentarians to change their tacts and tones. No more jeering and sneering at Opposition Members which were rampant in the past.

Opinion and view should be consistent and not be swayed too easily. Those who stay with the pack will always bear the characters of the pack.