Publisher, opera star condemn functional seats

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2012, 12:00am


A veteran publisher and a Cantonese opera star have condemned the Legislative Council's functional constituencies as 'ridiculous' after their voter registrations were rejected.

Jimmy Pang Chi-ming and Franco Yuen Siu-fai urged the government to conduct an exhaustive review of the indirectly elected seats or scrap them.

Both failed to gain registration in the Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication constituency amid a campaign urging eligible citizens to become voters in both the directly elected geographical constituencies and for the trade-based seats.

Pang, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong SME Publications Association and owner of publisher Sub-Culture, said he had been rejected because his organisation was 'not on the list' of qualified organisations.

He said on a radio programme yesterday that it was unreasonable none of his many roles - including qualified wushu judge, founder of the Hong Kong Screenwriters' Guild, columnist and publisher - could qualify him to represent any of the constituency's four subsectors.

'I dare say there are not 10 people [like me] who have experience in all four subsectors,' Pang said. He also wondered why such a person was deemed 'not qualified'.

Pang's publishing house is known for political satire, including the cartoon books Silly Old Tung and Bow Tie, lampooning the previous and current chief executives.

Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, a member of the International Olympic Committee, represents the constituency. Under the electoral law, it comprises a list of registered groups, such as the Hong Kong Publishing Federation, and recipients of sponsorship from the Arts Development Council.

Yuen, vice-president of the Chinese Artists Association, said he had been rejected because his production house was not receiving government sponsorship.

'The legislator of our sector has done nothing and he stays on the job, but when I wanted to fulfil my responsibility [to register as a voter], they rejected it because I am an individual, not an association,' Yuen said. 'It is bizarre that ... this rule has been there for over a decade and we take it just as it is. We should have a full-scale review of the functional constituencies.' Pang said they should be scrapped.

He said he was told on May 14 to submit more information, two days before the registration deadline.

The Registration and Electoral Office said it was still processing Pang's and Yuen's applcations.