Lawmakers split on report wording
The select committee investigating Leung Chun-ying's involvement in a 2001 design competition for the West Kowloon arts hub had to vote at least five times on the wording of its comment on his conduct, with views split along political lines.
The committee yesterday criticised Leung's actions as a judge in the contest after the chief executive-elect did not declare declare a company directorship while his colleagues helped an entrant.
The voting is revealed in the minutes of a closed-door meeting of the Legislative Council committee dated June 20. For example, a proposal to say Leung 'did not accord sufficient attention to completing his declaration [of interest] form' was included in the report with a note that the wording had been decided by a vote.
It was supported by five pan-democratic lawmakers and opposed by four Beijing loyalists, with Paul Tse Wai-chun, of the tourism sector, abstaining. A proposal to express 'dismay' at Leung's conduct was upheld as Tse joined the five pan-democrats to vote in favour of it.
Tse then left, leaving a proposal to say Leung had 'unshirkable responsibility' to pass on a 5-4 vote.
Tse, who plans to run for a geographical seat in the upcoming Legco election, said the committee should express a view and 'dismay' was an appropriate word.
The four lawmakers who voted against those proposals - Paul Chan Mo-po, Abraham Razack, Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun and Philip Wong Yu-hong - were all absent from yesterday's press conference to release the report. Chan, tipped to be the deputy financial secretary in the next administration, said he 'did not support some parts of the report'.
Leung said he was dissatisfied that the inquiry did not cover controversies involving the contest winner, British architect Norman Foster, whose design was initially rejected on technical grounds.
Committee chairman Ip Kwok-him denied that its work was compromised by political struggles. 'All our discussions were based on documents and facts,' he said.
Lam Tai-fai, of the industrial sector and a backer of Leung's rival for chief executive, Henry Tang Ying-yen, was absent from the crucial meeting that discussed the report's conclusions, as well as from the press conference.
Lam also had the lowest attendance rate, 59 per cent, of all 12 committee members. He said his absences were due to business engagements, dismissing speculation that he lost motivation to attack Leung after he won the election.