Ok. I know he’s the villain of the moment but here’s a word of fairness for Lui Tuck Yew.

If you go back to his parliamentary speech in January this year, he did say that fares for 2016 would come down – because of lower oil prices.

It didn’t come down this past year because of some lag. (It’s some technical shit which I don’t quite understand.)

This was what he said in Parliament in Jan:

“If I look ahead to the next fare exercise, and this is the fare exercise that we will conduct towards the end of this year, called the 2015 Fare Review Exercise, and this is using the data from the full year of 2014, the drop in 2014’s energy prices could possibly translate to a negative fare adjustment. Based on available data, and we do not have the full year’s data as yet, I would have to say that it could be in the region of negative 1%.”

See here: http://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/topic.jsp?currentTopicID=00007023-WA&currentPubID=00007068-WA&topicKey=00007068-WA.00007023-WA_7%2Bid-b5586e1a-2c3b-4148-b41e-4cd5368c5b57%2B

He announced a fare reduction of 1.9%.

So, Mr Lui didn’t actually do magic.

The problem is that he didn’t wait for the PTOs to submit their application for fare review (normally in Nov), as is the normal case, before he announced any reduction in fares.

As he said at the end of his speech in Parliament:

“What I have just provided are the numbers according to the fare formula. We will have to leave it to the Public Transport Council to assess the public transport operators’ applications for fare increase, the fare adjustment quantum as given by the formula, and the affordability of public transport for Singaporeans, amongst other things, and decide on the fare adjustment.”

But since he didn’t let the PTC do the job before he announced the fares reduction this time round, he is seen as being able to unilaterally and independently (of the PTC) control fares.

It really speaks of a minister in such a hot seat that he is desperate to placate the public in order not to lose votes (and also not to lose favour with his colleagues in the new GRC he will be posted to) in any way he can.

And what better way than to announce a fare reduction?

So ya. I thought it is impt to be fair to the man, villain or not.

*I still blame Lee Hsien Loong ultimately for the entire mess with the transport system.

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