Donald Tsang

Donald Tsang will leave soon enough

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2012, 12:00am


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Calls on Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to resign are irresponsible and laughable - his term has less than four weeks to go. Heavyweight unionist leader Chan Yuen-han is the latest to make the call. Chan, the honorary president of the leftist Federation of Trade Unions, is reportedly planning to run for one of the new 'super seats' in the legislative election in September. Her latest gesture looks more like an attempt to grab votes and gain exposure than one pursued in the public interest.

If Tsang still had more time in office, his resignation might make more sense. But given the short time he has, he - and the public - should focus on achieving a smooth transition to the next administration. If Tsang resigned, there might not be chaos or crisis, but at least confusion and distraction. His highly unpopular chief secretary, Stephen Lam Sui-lung, would take his place, and that would only create more controversy and difficulty during this sensitive transitional period.

Tsang has been faulted by an independent committee led by former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang and the Audit Commission following disclosure of his taking luxury official trips and accepting favours from tycoon friends. The Independent Commission Against Corruption has launched a graft probe. For now, his actions - for which he has apologised - make him look like a cheapskate, bent on exploiting the perks and privileges of his office, but not necessarily a criminal. The ICAC might conclude otherwise.

But public venom against Tsang now borders on the childish. Some critics have seized on a tour he and his wife were given of the Picasso exhibition at the Heritage Museum without having to buy the HK$20 ticket!

A non-binding motion to impeach Tsang is being prepared in Legco by some pan-democrats and tourism representative Paul Tse Wai-chun. This makes more sense as a symbolic protest for lawmakers to register their anger and discontent.

If Tsang has done wrong, there is plenty of time to go after him after he leaves office. We should, for now, focus on the transition and his successor.