CY Leung loses media guru after eight months
June Teng says she has been losing her vision since having surgery to correct shortsightedness and has to quit job
Stuart Lau and Tony Cheung
The top media aide of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has quit just eight months into the job, citing serious loss of sight since she underwent surgery to correct her short-sightedness.
June Teng Wai-kwan said she had been suffering loss of vision and irregular astigmatism - blurred vision that can be caused by a corneal scar - and also had floaters in the eye, cataracts and headaches caused by tinnitus, or ringing in the ear.
She tendered her resignation as information co-ordinator early last month and Leung had accepted it, she said.
Leung was understood to have encountered problems filling the post last year, and Teng, 65, took up the job almost two months after he was sworn in as chief executive in July.
Teng now becomes the second key figure to leave his government. Former development minister Mak Chai-kwong quit within 12 days as he became embroiled in scandal. He is now on trial for fraud.
Teng, who said her leaving date had yet to be decided, called it a "pleasure" to have worked with the chief executive.
"It is groundless to say that my departure is sparked by any discontent with Mr Leung," she said.
She described him as hard-working and determined to resolve the city's deep-seated problems, according to a report by TVB, where she worked for 16 years and served as controller of its news and information services division.
Teng went on to head the Jockey Club's public affairs team for 12 years before joining the government on a monthly salary of HK$175,000.
As information co-ordinator, she is in charge of disseminating news and formulating public relations strategies.
She also monitors public and press reactions and assists in media coverage of the chief executive's public events.
One source familiar with the Chief Executive's Office said Teng had complained about her health "for a while".
She had accompanied Leung on only one of his seven trips to the mainland since taking office, the source said.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Party's chairwoman and former executive councillor Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee has criticised a decision to cancel the Executive Council's regular Tuesday meeting because there was "nothing on the agenda".
Chow said: "There are many outstanding issues that can be discussed, for example, free-television licences.
"How could [executive councillors] suggest it was normal to cancel the regular meeting if civil servants did not have any new policy papers to table? It is the chief executive, not the civil servants, who takes the leading role in Exco."
The Exco secretariat said cancellations of meetings were not unusual and had happened more than 10 times since 2007.
Liberal Party lawmaker James Tien Pei-chun, also a former executive councillor, hinted that he had reservations about calling off meetings.
He suggested that the Exco and the chief executive should be seizing the initiative to take "the economy to a new level".