BackStories » Saigon » Doan Ngoc Hai Was Assigned a New Role. He Accepted, Then Resigned.

Doan Ngoc Hai Was Assigned a New Role. He Accepted, Then Resigned.

During his time as Vice Chairman of District 1’s People’s Committee, Doan Ngoc Hai attracted attention with any project he undertook, from catching stray dogs to chastising illegal anglers. Though Hai’s work was controversial, to say the least, he’s still without a doubt the most memorable local public figure in recent years.

As Tuoi Tre reports, on the morning of June 4, municipal authorities reassigned Vice Chairman Doan Ngoc Hai to the Saigon Construction Corporation (SGCC) as its new deputy director, ending his time in the People’s Committee of District 1. SGCC is a state-owned company in charge of constructing public works and residential projects, such as the District 6 Stadium, Tra Vinh Obstetrics Hospital and Phnom Penh’s Cho Ray Hospital, among other apartment complexes.

Hai was unhappy with the move, but still accepted the decision. Then, he immediately resigned the same afternoon, citing mismatched skills, as construction is not what he was trained to do.

“If I accept this responsibility no matter what, against my experience, training and passion, this could lead to grave consequences because I don’t have any knowledge about construction,” Hai wrote in his resignation letter. “It could hurt the reputation of the party and waste the people’s money and assets, so I decided to resign.”

He added in the letter that while waiting for approval for his early retirement, he will take a two-month sabbatical without pay. Tuoi Tre explains that the new position, while prestigious, is against Vice Chairman Hai’s career wishes. He expressed interest in working for the local government of Can Gio District, Saigon’s easternmost periphery, but the request wasn't greenlit.

According to Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen, city authorities recognize that Hai is a proactive, enthusiastic public servant. Therefore, the city reassigned him to SGCC in hopes that he could use the passion to improve the company.

In an interview with Thanh Nien, Hai said that if the resignation is approved, he would go back to working in his family business. He also expressed regret that there are many ongoing projects he hasn’t finished.

“I still have passion but couldn’t continue. I’m not the kind of official who accepts unquestioningly everything their superior says. I feel sorry that I can’t do more for the people of District 1,” he told the newspaper in Vietnamese. “After resigning, I feel better than before, but I’m sad that I haven’t done a lot for the people. I still ‘owe’ them eight apartment upgrade projects to improve safety and I haven’t got a chance to work on relocation for the households [in the apartments].”

[Photo via SGGP]

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