'Super seat' hopefuls have poor record of meeting residents

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:07pm


Two of the five lawmakers contesting the 'super seats' in the Legislative Council elections next month did not attend any of their scheduled meetings with residents seeking help in the past legislative year.

The super seats are elected by citywide ballot, with some 3.2 million voters eligible.

Under Legco procedures, lawmakers take turns to attend the meetings at which residents can discuss their complaints over government actions or policies.

Under the 'duty roster members' (DRM) system, lawmakers in groups of six take turns weekly to hear complaints, with interviews arranged for cases that need following up.

Of the five incumbent super-seat candidates, only Democrat James To Kun-sun and Starry Lee Wai-king of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong missed all meetings.

The other three incumbent candidates attended at least some of their scheduled meetings, with only DAB lawmaker Lau Kong-wah attending all of them - five out of five.

Lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee from the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood attended two out of four, while Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan attended one out of five.

The other two super-seat candidates - Independent Pamela Peck Wan-kam and Chan Yuen-han, honorary president of the Federation of Trade Unions - were not members of the previous Legco.

To, who represents Kowloon West, said the interviews he missed had probably clashed with his other meetings. 'I remember two of them had clashed with some panel meetings, but I've forgotten the details of the others.'

To said that while lawmakers on duty were required to attend the meetings, which occasionally involved government officials, residents sometimes requested the attendance of certain lawmakers.

'On some occasions when I knew colleagues familiar with the policies or areas concerned were attending, I chose to attend other meetings instead,' said To. Lee, who also represented the Kowloon West constituency, said she had been too busy to meet the residents.

'They clashed with the other Legco meetings so I could not attend them, but I did read the minutes afterward,' said Lee, who recently joined the Executive Council.

Meanwhile, an analysis of statistics compiled after the previous Legco term ended showed that David Li Kwok-po, a financial sector lawmaker, topped the list of lawmakers who did not vote.

Li was also among lawmakers with the worst Legco attendance records.

Excluding the voting on around 1,300 amendments submitted by three pan-democrats during their filibustering attempt, Li missed voting 185 times out of 210 occasions, a 'miss rate' of 88 per cent.

Li, the Bank of East Asia's chairman, has decided against seeking re-election, and said his 27 years as a lawmaker were 'a waste of time'.

Independent pan-democrat Andrew Cheng Kar-foo had a slightly better record than Li with a 'miss rate' of 77.1 per cent, up from 48.7 per cent from 2010 to last year.

From 2008 to 2009, Cheng skipped 18 per cent of the 111 votes. The following year he missed 13.8 per cent of the 116 votes.

Cheng, a solicitor, will not be seeking re-election after 14 years as a lawmaker. He could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.

Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, who represents the sports, performing arts, culture and publication sector, had the third-worst attendance record, missing 66.2 per cent of votes.

Medical sector lawmaker Dr Leung Ka-lau was fourth with 65.7 per cent, followed by Vincent Fang Kang, a wholesale and retail sector lawmaker, with 56.7 per cent.

Leung, who is seeking re-election, said he skipped 138 votes because many of them did not involve the medical sector.

'I am an independent and there are too many policy areas that go beyond my sectoral interests,' Leung said.


Lawmakers' overall Legco attendance rate in the legislative year that ended recently, up from 96.3 per cent in the previous year