Outgoing chief leaves a dubious legacy

Outgoing chief leaves a dubious legacy

Ahead of election day on March 25, both Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and the candidates for his post have come under increased scrutiny.

Recently, news reports surfaced that Tsang took non-official trips on private jets and luxury yachts with tycoons. He was also photographed at a banquet in a Macau casino. People have criticised him for his unprofessional conduct.

On a radio programme last month, he admitted to going on a total of four holiday trips - two on private jets and two on yachts - over the course of his seven years in office. He insisted he had "always paid for trips at market price".

Yet his political opponents insist Tsang should disclose all the financial details of his trips. Some people even threatened to file a complaint to the Independent Commission Against Corruption if Tsang fails to give a full account.

Such urgent calls on Tsang to disclose all details reveal public distrust in government officials. Yet the demands to provide a full account of his journeys and expenditures only scratch the surface of the real problem.

The government should ensure chief executives conduct their affairs with more transparency. That is necessary to foster mutual trust between officials and the public.

With only a few months left of Tsang's second term in office, Hong Kong people should not only review his performance, but also suggest better ways in which we can hold chief executives to be responsible for their actions.

During his re-election campaign in 2007, Tsang promised he would do his very best to serve Hong Kong.

It is difficult to judge whether he has really been able to fulfil his promise as the fruits of his labour will not be immediately seen.

CE candidates should heed the words of lawmaker Wong Sing-chi: "[Being] chief executive is a 24-hour job."

Chief executives are public figures. They should be aware of the important role they play and how their actions affect the community.

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