HCM City ‘pavement tsar’ resigns shortly after new job

Just some hours after being appointed to a new job at a state firm, former District 1 vice-chairman Doan Ngoc Hai has resigned, saying that he lacks the qualifications for the post.

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HCM City ‘pavement tsar’ resigns shortly after new job

Doan Ngoc Hai (left) at the ceremony to be assigned for the new post on May 4

On Tuesday, Hai who is known for his struggle against HCM City’s pavement encroachments in 2017, was assigned to be deputy general director of the Saigon Construction Corporation (SGCC) managed by the HCM City People’s Committee. 

At the ceremony after accepting the new task, Hai admitted that he did not have professional qualifications for the job, but as a party member, he must conform to the appointment.

However, on the afternoon of the same day, he suddenly submitted his resignation letter to local authorities. Hai's case has attracted publich attention.

In the letter, he said that on January 8 last year, he had tendered his resignation from the post of District 1 vice chairman. But, on May 12, 2018, he withdrew his resignation as the people and the district government’s leaders had encouraged him to stay on.

He tried his best to devote to the assigned work for the city’s development. During the 25-year working process in District 1, he never turned down any challenging jobs. He voluntarily proposed for being allowed to work in the most remote district of Can Gio, but was refused, Hai mentioned in the petition.

According to Hai, he was highly appreciated to be brave and determined in the pavement violation crackdown by the city authorities as well as the public.

“I was honoured for what I did, why I have been sent to the Saigon Construction Corporation which I do not have any skills and qualifications for,” Hai questioned.

Earlier, he was also considered for general director of the Saigon Jewellery Company Limited and deputy head of the city’s Food Safety Board for which he totally lacked experience, too.

In Hai’s opinion, these appointments are inappropriate.

“Whether the pavement issue has affected officials’ benefits or influential ones? This would be the main reason for him to be sent to the new post?” Hai wondered.

Hai said if HCM City does not take more drastic actions to deal with pavement violations, in the next 100 years, the city would fail to catch up with Singapore.


“People often call upon the slogan “For a smart, green city and Industry 4.0”, but they forget how to make streets and pavements clear and safe every day. Around 100 million in HCM City die while walking on road beds annually,” Hai pointed out.

He explained that he has no professional skills or experience in the construction sector, so he cannot fulfill the role, which would harm affecting the party’s prestige and causing losses of public assets. So, he decided to resign.

While awaiting the city’s approval, Hai proposed taking non-paid leave for two months, starting from June 5.

HCMC officials discuss Doan Ngoc Hai’s resignation

HCM City ‘pavement tsar’ resigns shortly after new job

Former chairwoman of the HCMC People's Council Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam speaks to the press on June 5. She said that Doan Ngoc Hai’s resignation had greatly surprised her - PHOTO: TNO

The appointment of Doan Ngoc Hai to a new job is in line with prevailing regulations, HCMC Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said.

Phong said that Hai is a member of the Standing Board of the municipal Party Committee, so appointing him to any new position must be carefully weighed.

Explaining the new appointment, Phong told the media on June 4 that after a personnel plan was submitted, the Standing Board of the municipal Party Committee, the municipal Party Committee’s Organization Board and the HCMC Department of Home Affairs found Hai had certain skills and experience in finance and appointed him as deputy general director of the State-owned Saigon Construction Corporation.

Phong also answered a question related to Hai’s proposal to allow him to serve as vice chairman of the outlying coastal district of Can Gio, pointing out that before any appointment decision could be made, it is necessary to check for a vacancy. The Can Gio government currently has enough vice chairpeople, he was quoted by the local media.

Besides this, Phong said that he had yet to receive Hai’s resignation letter, so he did not know the reason for his resignation.

Meanwhile, former chairwoman of the HCMC People's Council Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam told the media on the sidelines of the National Assembly’s ongoing sitting on June 5 that Doan Ngoc Hai’s resignation had greatly surprised her.

Tam said that the process to finalize his appointment to the new position had been opened up for discussion many times and had been considered thoroughly.

In addition, Tam said his behavior might confuse residents about the work of the city’s staff management.


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