Politicians can find themselves out on a limb thanks to a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease but for former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa the physical extremity was one of the sources of ill health that forced him to step down in 2005.
Now, almost a decade later in neighboring Macau, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on has been out of the public eye for several days because of foot problems — and not his stumbles over the controversial retirement perks bill for officials.
“The chief executive has asked me to say that the reason he hasn’t attended some public events such as the congregation ceremony of the University of Macau is because of gout. It affects his feet so he can’t move around very well,” Social Affairs and Culture Secretary Cheong U said at the ceremony Saturday.
But anybody hoping Chui will follow in Tung’s footsteps may be disappointed because Chui appeared in public again the next day at a temple ceremony.
A Radio Macau reporter bumped into him near the temple Sunday, and Chui confirmed that he had gout, which caused minor pain and difficulties walking but did not affect his work.
He also said his doctor had told him he could resume outdoor activities as he had fully recovered.
Public calls for Chui to step down have simmered since the bill sparked an uproar and mass demonstrations in Macau. The bill also proposed to grant serving chief executive immunity from criminal charges but Chui has since put it on the back burner.
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