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Wednesday June 4, 2008 MYT 3:06:40 PM

New Kuching South mayor sworn in

KUCHING: Newly-appointed Kuching City South Mayor James Chan Khay Syn wants to quickly get down to work although he has yet to recover from knee surgery.

Chan, 58, said he sustained a torn ligament after a fall while travelling in an aircraft from here to Sibu about two months ago.

He underwent an operation at the Normah Medical Specialist Centre two weeks ago and was discharged on June 2.

''I did not expect the recovery to take so long. I went to the hospital for an injection this morning before I came (for the swearing-in ceremony),'' he told reporters Wednesday after taking his oath of office as the fourth mayor at the City South Council building.

Chan was limping and had to be helped by an assistant when taking the oath of office before State Environment and Public Health Minister Datuk Michael Manyin.

''Hopefully my leg will get better. If I can run, I will run,'' said the New Zealand-trained accountant.

He said he was eager to go to the ground to start inspection work.

Chan, who was Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd general manager for eight years, is the second non-politician mayor. He filled the vacancy left by Chong Ted Tsiung, who died of cancer, in July last year.

Dismissing talk of bad feng shui (geometry) of the city south council building, Chan said he is a Christian and not superstitious.

Chan said his office would be located next to the former mayor's office. Earlier, speaking at the ceremony, Chan said his priority was to ''listen as much as I can'' to council staff and to get feedback from all stakeholders and the community at large. ''We (the council) should not be afraid of criticism. Rather we should look at all of criticism constructively, and any positive ones will be considered and adopted for improvement.

''Our aim must be the delivery of quality services to the community.''

Chan is committed to making Kuching the No 1 city in the country if not among the best in the world.

He wants to inculcate the values of integrity, efficiency and accountability in the council's administration and dealings.

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