A fare-y tale

In Money, News Reports, Society on December 14, 2012 at 2:34 am

With Palmergate going on, I guess Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew must be getting some respite from those who have been haranguing him about his comments that bus fares must go up so that bus drivers’ salaries can. Frankly, it was a crazy thing to say. Nobody is going to take that sort of comment sitting down, especially about an essential service like public transport, ran by profit-making private operators who’ve just been handed $1.1b worth of new buses paid by taxpayers.

Mr Lui tried to clarify his position according to media reports today. Note I use the word “tried’’. Now he says it wasn’t to increase bus operators’ profits in the short-term but he just wanted to make clear that the money for salaries must come from somewhere, not just from operators or government subsidies. And of course, he meant that service levels must go up…you ninny.

He added: “What received less notice was my statement that when the fare review committee submits its report next year, we would be better able to see the relationship between any fare adjustment, wage increases, and what government support needs to be given to the groups most affected by the increase’’.

He might as well have said that he should have said nothing at all and wait for the Richard Magnus report early next year. If Mr Lui was flying a kite with his first comments, the kite’s been shot down. In any case, an increase in bus fares is poison for the G in any election…or by-election.

  1. […] – Bertha Harian: A fare-y tale […]

  2. Many politicians have reacted to the resignation of the Speaker of Parliament reasonably well. It is: politically speaking. Politicians speak politically all the time. But not all are able to do so with a straight face and not be caught with mouth wide open by being overly frank to a fault. There is always the correct time and space to utter this or that in public. But not all politicians have the maturity of mind or political experience and acumen concerning time and space to hold back their horses as there could be sensitivity in what they say at the wrong time and place. Politicians have to pay the price when face with a ground-swell of public opinion reacting unfavourably to their utterances in public. I hope many politicians will know how to hold their ground well as MPs or ministers and not be caught red faced.

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