Paul Chan

Development chief Paul Chan admits he thought of quitting

An embattled Paul Chan says the idea of stepping down had flashed through his mind

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 January, 2013, 4:55am

Development chief Paul Chan Mo-po has admitted the idea of stepping down amid sagging popularity had flashed through his mind.

Chan was replying to a question raised by a radio programme host, who asked whether he had ever planned to leave government given his consistently low approval ratings following a series of personal scandals.

"Did the idea [of resigning] flash across my mind? Yes, it did. It was like what I had said earlier - that I could not sleep well during a certain period," Chan said on Commercial Radio's The Tipping Point last night.

The remarks were his first public comments addressing wide public dissatisfaction with his performance.

Chan said that as a principal official he understood the public had a certain level of expectation from the administration, and he agreed this was reasonable.

"I will be more careful in my behaviour," he said.

The former accountancy-sector lawmaker was appointed on July 30 as development secretary, replacing Mak Chai-kwong. Mak was in the position for only 12 days when a scandal over abuse of government rent allowance forced him from office.

Chan ran into difficulty himself just days into the job when it emerged he and his wife had held shares in a company tied to subdivided flats, triggering public calls for his resignation. His popularity took another blow when a newspaper carried a report claiming he had driven home after consuming two glasses of beer at a family lunch in October, prompting a police investigation. Chan denied he had engaged in drink driving.

He earned an extremely poor rating in this month's survey by the University of Hong Kong, along with education chief Eddie Ng Hak-kim.