Beaten Legco chief faces testing time

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 January, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 January, 1997, 12:00am

LEGCO president Andrew Wong will face renewed pressure to defend his impartiality after his failed attempt to preside over the provisional legislature.

His decision to join the provisional legislature has been heavily criticised by pro-democracy legislators.

Mr Wong's role as Legco President would face more scrutiny if he were involved in the vetting of laws to be repealed by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, including the Public Order Ordinance and the Societies Ordinance, when the issue will subsequently be debated in the Legislative Council.

Asked what he would do, Mr Wong said: 'You will know later.' Mr Wong said: 'I will try my best to be a provisional legislature member' and added he would seek to work with winner Rita Fan. He refused to speculate on why he lost.

Mrs Fan refused to comment on whether Mr Wong should declare his stance on the interim body.

She said: 'Members have the responsibility to make a contribution to our Special Administrative Region. I believe Mr Wong would [play] his part.' On Wednesday, Mr Wong faces a motion debate tabled by The Frontier's Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien urging the Government to seek a court declaration denouncing him - if he does not resign - for 'conflict of interest when required to adjudicate on issues relating to the provisional legislature'.

But legislator and Preparatory Committee member David Chu Yu-lin has tabled an amendment which says Mr Wong 'will still have the ability to safeguard the impartiality' of the presidency and 'will help in the continuity' of legislation by taking part in the provisional body.

Last night, Democratic Party vice-chairman Dr Yeung Sum said: 'His decision to join has undermined legislators' respect for him . . . it is up to him to deal with the problem.' But Mr Wong was praised by Chief Executive-designate Tung Chee-hwa at the provisional body's first plenum.

'I express my highest regard for Mr Andrew Wong,' he said.

'Every decision he made is with the sense of duty deriving from his patriotism and love for Hong Kong.' Tam Yiu-chung, provisional legislature member and vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, said: 'I think there is no need for [Mr Wong] to step down from the Legislative Council's presidency. I think he has his ways to deal with it, given that he is so experienced in the legislature.'