I've been as clean as a whistle: Tsang
Facing his final grilling in the legislature, chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen assured lawmakers yesterday he had been behaving himself lately.
He said there had been no trips on private yachts or jets with tycoon friends since such behaviour caused a furore - and then there was that matter of whistling.
In March 2005, Tsang drew criticism for whistling on his way to meet then-chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, rumoured at the time to be stepping down amid public discontent. Tung quit soon afterwards.
Textile and garment-sector lawmaker Sophie Leung Lau Yau-fun yesterday recalled it and asked Tsang to advise his successor, Leung Chun-ying, against bad habits.
'I have never whistled again since then,' he assured lawmakers. 'Since my previous trip to Macau, I have not visited Macau again with so-called tycoons. I have also avoided riding on private yachts or flying in the [private] jets of others. So I think we learn from what has happened.
'Sometimes we are so conceited that we overlook Hong Kong people's feelings,' he added. 'Mr Leung is a sensitive person. He clearly knows the sensitiveness of these issues. I believe he will not commit the mistakes of my blind spots.'
With his seven-year term ticking down to June 30, Tsang insisted he would not step down early but spend his final days completing his work and ensuring a seamless transition.
He appealed to lawmakers to approve Leung's proposed government restructuring.
'There are many remaining tasks to be finished. As the chief executive, my responsibility to Hong Kong people is that I finish those tasks,' said Tsang, 67, who spent more than four decades in public office. 'These are crucial to the public's livelihood. I must grab every moment to complete those tasks in the remaining 16 days. I can neither leave my position nor fail to live up to their expectations.'
On the challenges facing Leung, Tsang expected he would need to address several lingering problems such as income disparity and housing concerns.
Tsang is still under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption for allegedly receiving favours from tycoons.