Suen fully recovered from legionnaires' bug
Emily Tsang and Tanna Chong
Education minister Michael Suen Ming-yeung returned to his office at government headquarters in Admiralty yesterday, saying he had fully recovered from legionnaires' disease. This was despite the minister needing an extra day of sick leave after initially resuming work on Monday.
'I am healthy and well, thanks for everybody's concern,' Suen said when he returned to his office yesterday afternoon, where Legionella pneumophila - the potentially fatal bacteria believed to be the cause of his illness - was found following his diagnosis.
Suen resumed his duties on Monday after several weeks of sick leave, but then took Tuesday off. He said yesterday that he was going to be examined by doctors.
Democratic Party lawmaker Kam Nai-wai said early retirement was the best option for both Suen and the government. 'Despite his recovery claims, he looks very tired to me. The government should allow him to rest as soon as possible. He is 67, after all.
'Undersecretary for Education Kenneth Chen Wei-on can totally perform Suen's job.'
He added: 'Even Greg So [Kam-leung] can be a secretary, why can't Chen?'
So was promoted late last year from his position as Undersecretary for Commerce and Economic Development to fill the top position after Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan left due to illness.
New People's Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said: 'Chen has been performing satisfactorily over the past years. He has helped Suen a lot in Legco matters, too.' But she said the final choice should remain with Suen.
Secretary for Food and Health Dr York Chow Yat-ngok said Suen, who was diagnosed with the disease on December 21, had now fully recovered and was able to work again.
At the government headquarters, where extensive contamination was found, so far 43 water samples from 19 areas have contained legionella bacteria, Chow told lawmakers yesterday.
A further 400 water samples had been taken after the complex was sterilised. The results were expected in a few days, Chow said.
Chief Secretary Stephen Lam Sui-lung denied claims that rushed construction work at the headquarters contributed to the contamination.
But he said workers still had to complete 20 per cent of the touch-up work at the new complex.
Lam said the government would disconnect unused water pipes and taps that might retain bacteria as soon as possible after a review on the design was completed, but gave no further details.