Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said John Tsang Chun-wah’s resignation as financial secretary will have a great impact on government work.
Talking to reporters before a regular Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Leung said Tsang’s move was not a good thing for the government in terms of timing because the next couple of months will be the government’s busiest period in view of the policy address to be delivered in January and next year’s budget to be unveiled in February, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Leung’s words run counter to the remarks of Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen, who said any resignation by a key official will not affect the operations of the government.
While Tsang did not explain why he resigned in a statement issued on Monday, many observers see the move as paving the way for him to run for Hong Kong chief executive in the election to be held on March 26, 2017.
Leung said his decision not to seek a second term will not affect both his policy address and the budget, which will include plans for the medium and long term.
Asked if there was any discord between him and Tsang, Leung said there is absolutely no such a thing, otherwise Tsang would not have worked for the government under his leadership over the past four years.
Tsang went on leave from Tuesday with Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Ceajer Chan Ka-keung named as acting financial secretary.
Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun said he couldn’t see how the preparation for next year’s budget would affect the current government, saying the budget would not take effect until April 1 and the incumbent administration would end three months later.
Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, the leader of the pro-Beijing New People’s Party who is expected to announce her candidacy for the city’s top job on Thursday, said she is wondering if Tsang really had reached a tacit agreement with Beijing before he resigned.
Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a senior lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said Leung’s remarks only stoked rumors about disunity in his administration, saying he wondered if the chief executive would say the same thing about the impact on government work if Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also announced her resignation soon.
Tsang’s resignation has spurred speculation that Lam will follow suit to run for chief executive.
Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said the government will still do its job as a team no matter how many secretaries resign and run in the election.
Joseph Wong Wing-ping, a former secretary for civil service, said Lam’s resignation would have a lighter impact than Tsang’s, but he believes it’s an overstatement that government work would suffer a huge blow as a result of Tsang’s move.
He said no official can ever be important enough to cause the government machinery to stop
[Chinese version 中文版]
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