Law and Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam has pledged to help the family of the deceased taxi driver who died when a Ferrari slammed into his taxi in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
According to the Straits Times, he assured 21-year-old Stephanie Cheng, the daughter of cabby Cheng Teck Hock, that she would not have to worry about paying for her university education, as long as she qualifies for a place.
Paying his respects to Cheng at his wake on Tuesday evening, Shanmugam -- MP for Nee Soon GRC -- said he and his grassroots leaders promised to help the family with an aid package to take care of their long-term needs, including their Housing Board flat, ST reported.
"What they have is a cast-iron assurance from us that we're here to help them, and we'll take care of them," he was reported as saying.
Members of the public have also paid their respects and made donations to help the family of the 52-year-old taxi driver, who died in Tan Tock Seng Hospital when his heart stopped.
The sole breadwinner of the family, Cheng was first declared brain dead after a severe haemorrhage in the brain before his heart stopped on Sunday night. The taxi driver leaves behind a wife and three school-going children.
A 61-year-old man named Tan who works in the finance industry, said he read about the tragedy in the papers and decided to donate some money to help Cheng’s family.
“His children are still young and studying and the driver who was the family’s sole breadwinner does not have insurance. They would need some money in the future,” Tan said.
“If everyone gives a little to help the family, it can help them tide over the difficult time,” he added.
Accountant Christopher Yai, 57, also visited the wake on Monday and made a donation to the family on behalf of a friend.
“My temporary employer was helping Cheng with some work about taxes, and when he heard about accident, he felt compelled to make a donation towards the family,” Yai said.
Cheng’s employer, ComfortDelGro, has set up a collection fund to assist the family with funeral arrangements and expenses.
“Besides working with the insurer to expedite the payout to the family, we will also assist them in seeking legal assistance going forward,” said Tammy Tan, ComfortDelGro’s group corporate communications officer.
Cheng reportedly had no individual life insurance policy as his family could not afford one but he had insurance cover as an employee of the taxi operator.
The 52-year-old father leaves behind his wife and three children – daughter Stephanie Cheng, 21; sons Cheng Dao Han, 19, and Cheng Dao Long, 17.
Legal action mulled
Cheng’s eldest son told Yahoo! Singapore that the family of Ma Chi, driver of the Ferrari involved in the accident, has not contacted his family.
The young Cheng said his family is waiting for the police investigation into his father’s death to be over before they decide whether to take any legal action.
The accident claimed the life of Ma as well as the female Japanese passenger in Cheng's taxi. It also seriously injured a young woman who was with Ma in the Ferrari.
Meanwhile, for those who want to help the Chengs, cash donations can be dropped off at the cashier located next to the general service counter on level 1 of ComfortDelGro’s office located in Sin Ming during office hours (Mondays-Fridays, 8am - 5.30pm) by end of this month.
Members of the public can also make cheques payable to "LIM CHOO ENG" and mail them to:
THE CHENG FAMILY
c/o Comfort Transportation Pte Ltd
383 Sin Ming Drive
Attn: Customer Service Centre
Donors should indicate their names on the back of their cheques, said ComfortDelGro’s Tan.
Singapore's haze situation worsened on Monday as the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) crossed into the “unhealthy” range of 111 at 4pm. It had earlier climbed from 55 at 9am to 80 at 12pm, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).