Pressure on Legco chief to quit

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 January, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 January, 1997, 12:00am

THERE was growing pressure last night for Legislative Council President Andrew Wong Wang-fat to step down after he said he intended to provide copies of Legco papers to China's rival lawmaking body.

Mr Wong, already under fire for having provided provisional legislature members with copies of the Legco standing orders, said there was no problem in also giving them Legco papers because they were available to the public.

Speaking after he received 900 signatures urging him to explain his stance towards the provisional legislature, Mr Wong said: 'If it happens that there are spare copies, I think we can give them to the provisional legislature members. We would not especially produce more for them.' He also said the shadow chamber would only be given papers to which the public had access. Nothing confidential would be handed over.

Mr Wong also defended his handing out of Legco's standing orders, saying people had to be given information about how Legco operated if they were to understand it fully.

But Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming said Mr Wong should seek the permission of Legislative Councillors before giving anything out.

'There shouldn't be any spare copies. The 'spares' are prepared for legislators who forget to bring along their papers for meetings,' he said. 'But even if there are copies, he should ask for our views first.' Mr Wong must understand there were more than 20 legislators who were strongly opposed to their China-backed rival, he added.

Questioning Mr Wong's continued presidency, Mr Lee asked: 'How can he serve two masters? How can he be the king of two kingdoms?' Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing said the group was considering a motion to condemn Mr Wong.

'He is affecting the integrity of the office of the presidency,' she said.

Another Frontier legislator, Leung Yiu-chung, said it was an 'abuse of power'.

'If he was photocopying them on his own personal basis we could do nothing about it, but if he is giving them away as council President the action amounts to Legco offering help to the provisional legislature,' he said.

Mr Leung also claimed Mr Wong had been 'passing the buck' by previously refusing to answer media queries on the issue by quoting his position as Legco President.

'He is saying he is avoiding politicised issues - but everything he is doing is causing political problems,' he said.