Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung rolled up his sleeves and drove an MRT train at Mandai depot, along the Thomson-East Coast Line, on Thursday (3 Dec).

Sharing a video of him steering the train on Facebook, Mr Ong said that he was closely supervised by SMRT staff, Yunos. The train Mr Ong drove was an automated and driverless train but the minister noted that there may be occasions that staff are required to drive the train.

Mr Ong also promoted the “exciting” career opportunities available in the transport industry and highlighted the career path his “driving instructor” Mr Yunos took. Mr Yunos studied mechanical engineering in Singapore Polytechnic and Nanyang Technological University before joining SMRT.

Aside from serving as an instructor, Mr Yunos has experience in other roles in SMRT like managing station operations and supporting backend control operations.

Mr Yunos teaching Mr Ong how to steer the train (Photos: Ong Ye Kung FB)

Mr Ong, a former civil servant, made his first foray into politics in the 2011 General Election, when he was in the People’s Action Party team that contested in Aljunied GRC. In a historic upset, the Workers’ Party (WP) won the GRC, making history by being the first opposition party to be elected in a multi-member constituency.

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Following the electoral defeat, Mr Ong continued to work at the NTUC. He was promoted to Deputy Secretary-General before being elected into the NTUC’s Central Committee.

He left the NTUC for the private sector in 2013. Two years later, he contested as part of the PAP team in Sembawang GRC, which was considered a “safer” ward. The team won and Mr Ong became a Member of Parliament (MP) for the GRC. He was re-elected in the 2020 election.

Mr Ong was one of the few MPs to be promoted to full minister in their first term in Parliament. He was given the Education portfolio. In the most recent Cabinet line-up after the July election, he was made Transport Minister.

University students thank ex-Education Minister Ong Ye Kung after he takes on Transport portfolio