Teachers' chief in poll pull-out
Colleen Lee and Emily Tsang
Professional Teachers' Union president Fung Wai-wah announced yesterday he was pulling out of the Legislative Council election due to health reasons.
The Democrat, 51, has long been groomed by incumbent education sector lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong as his successor.
Fung's decision came a week after he registered as a candidate in the education functional constituency to fight against Education Convergence vice-chairman Ho Hon-kuen, who was considered a pro-establishment contender.
Fung said yesterday there had been a surge in his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) index. However, he said he had not been diagnosed with cancer.
'What is most worrying is that there has been a sharp rise in my PSA, an index for prostate cancer, so my doctor advised me to take a rest and undergo more examinations,' said the father-of-two.
'Over the past six months, my health has been deteriorating and I easily feel tired,' he said. 'I was told about the results a few days ago, but I insisted on registering [as a candidate] as I didn't want to disappoint my supporters.'
However, he said, he changed his mind 'considering that the index remained at a high level'.
Fung, who was the convenor of the Alliance for Universal Suffrage, stressed that the decision was made after taking the advice of his doctor and discussing the issue with his family and the union.
On Monday he informed Cheung and other executive committee members of the union.
Ip Kin-yuen, 50, the union's chief executive, was elected unanimously in the executive committee on Tuesday to replace Fung to run and will sign up as a contender today.
Cheung, who is partnering Democrat Helena Wong Pik-wan in the Kowloon West constituency, admitted the union had considered asking him to run again as education sector lawmaker.
But he said he decided not to run again because he thought it crucial to pass on the position to the younger generation.
Fung said he would take a six-month leave from the union and a two-month leave from City University where he is a senior lecturer in social studies.
In the meantime, Cheung will be the union's acting president.
Urologist Dr Chan Lung-wai said a high PSA reflected activity in the organ, but it would require a biopsy to tell whether it was a cancer or benign enlargement.
'But either way, it is advisable to reduce pressure from work when a patient is detected with high PSA, as it reveals there is situation going on with your body and a reduction in your resistance,' Chan said. 'Both sicknesses can be treated if it is diagnosed at the early stage.'