Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said he has no information about whether the resignation of finance chief John Tsang has been approved.

“We reported Secretary Tsang’s resignation to the central government… we don’t have news as of now,” Leung said ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday.

Tsang is tipped to be joining the chief executive race once his resignation is approved by Beijing, but it has been more than a week since he announced his desire to step down from government.

Leung Chun-ying. File Photo: GovHK.

Tsang’s move came a day after the pro-democracy camp won more than a quarter of the seats in the chief executive election committee. The election results were considered better than the camp’s expectations of winning 300 seats. Leung – hugely unpopular – announced two days before the election that he would not run for a second term.

Leung will fly to Beijing for a duty visit on Tuesday night. He said he will factually report Hong Kong’s situation to Beijing leaders before returning on Friday night.

2017 Policy Address 

Leung added that his priority is to complete the policy address to be published in January.

“I was still reading a draft at 3am the night before yesterday. The measures in the policy address require financial support – it involves the work of the Financial Secretary. Therefore, this period between October and February is traditionally the busiest time for the administration and the finance department,” he said.

Last week, Leung said Tsang’s resignation would greatly affect the work of the government, as the Leung administration is preparing its final policy address and budget.

John Tsang. File

For the remainder of his term, Leung said he would try his best to complete his election promises, including policies on standard working hours, the universal pension scheme and cancelling the offsetting arrangement of the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF).

The offsetting arrangement allows employers to pay employees’ severance payments or long service payments using funds from their MPF retirement schemes.

“These issues have existed in our society for a long time – they have complicated and long backgrounds, they are not easy to handle,” he said.

But Leung would not confirm to reporters whether the Executive Council will discuss the issue of MPF offsetting, saying that the meeting agenda of the Council is confidential.

Editor’s note: Digital media outlets such as Hong Kong Free Press are currently barred from attending government press conferences.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.