Donald Tsang

Tributes and a triumph as old make way for the new

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 June, 2012, 12:00am

There was a rare buzz around the government headquarters in Admiralty yesterday as top officials packed their bags to make way for Leung Chun-ying's team.

With Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's term finishing at midnight tonight, those who are not staying on - either because they didn't want to or because they weren't asked - prepared for life away from government.

Outgoing ministers split their day between bidding farewell to staff and attending their last official functions with President Hu Jintao .

Chief Secretary Stephen Lam Sui-lung, who is moving on to study theology at Oxford, sent a goodbye note describing how honoured he was to have served the people of Hong Kong for 34 years.

There was a party in the office of Dr York Chow Yat-ngok, whose staff paid tribute to their boss with farewell cards as he prepared to leave the Food and Health Burea.

He promised to retain his interest in the department and 'test the quality of the service' by receiving treatment at public hospitals.

Education chief Michael Suen Ming-yeung will be leaving textbooks behind and picking up a form guide in the hope of picking some winners at the race track.

Transport and housing chief Eva Cheng had a win to celebrate yesterday as the Legislative Council passed a bill regulating the sale of new flats. Cheng said earlier that passing the bill was the only outstanding item on a list of tasks Tsang had given her to complete.

Lawmakers paid tribute to Cheng for her willingness to push through the new rules in the face of opposition from property developers. They described it as one of the biggest accomplishments of her tenure.

Civil service chief Denise Yue Chung-yee spoke of her pride at serving as a civil servant for 32 years. 'The hardest time is hearing news about a colleague being injured or dying on duty,' she said.

Meanwhile, 51.3 per cent of respondents in a Chinese University poll said Tsang's performance had been worse than that of his predecessor, Tung Chee-hwa. He received lower marks than Tung on nine out of 10 criteria, including incorruptibility, trustworthiness, and caring about the livelihood of citizens.

Tsang only came out on top when respondents were asked who was 'more capable'.