Bid to unseat president over conflicts fails

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 January, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 January, 1997, 12:00am

The attempt to pressure the President, Andrew Wong Wang-fat, to step down because of his membership of the provisional legislature was rebuffed last night.

A motion by Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien of The Frontier urging the Government to seek a declaration to denounce Mr Wong for joining the body was defeated by a vote of 29 to 23.

An amendment by another provisional legislature member, David Chu Yu-lin, was carried 29 to 23 with support from independents Christine Loh Kung-wai and Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee as well as the Liberal Party, the DAB and the ADPL, which have members on the interim body.

Mr Wong had justified his abortive attempt to preside over the provisional legislature by his ability to demonstrate his neutrality, Mrs Wong said.

'Unfortunately, you have now been cold-shouldered by the provisional legislature and only become one of its ordinary members,' she said.

'Mr President, you announced last night that until July 1, you will neither interject, nor speak up, nor cast a vote in the provisional legislature.

'My humble view is that it is far better for you to quit the provisional legislature and thus free yourself from the strictures of enforced silence, and obedient decorum in a cocoon of self-inflicted confinement,' she said.

Amending Mrs Wong's motion, Mr Chu said the council believed Mr Wong could still safeguard his impartiality and integrity.

'Mrs Wong is wrong to say being with both this council and the provisional legislature constitutes a conflict of interest,' he said.

'There isn't any conflict, there isn't even any rivalry, because this council is responsible for legislation until the last moment of June 30 and the provisional legislature is responsible for the same right afterwards.

'Mrs Wong questions Mr Wong's integrity with her motion to impeach. This is odd.

'Back in October 1995 when we elected Mr Wong as president, we voted for him because of his integrity.' Leung Yiu-chung of The Frontier said the provisional legislature had supplied a new culture to the assembly.

'Perhaps this is a culture with Chinese characteristics - that is one which acts as ordered, which replaces rational debate with sycophantic handclapping,' he said.

Allen Lee Peng-fei of the Liberal Party said Mrs Wong's motion reminded him of trials on the mainland in the past.

'It's too much. They are not entitled to denounce Mr Wong,' Mr Lee said. It was Mr Wong's voters in Sha Tin who would be his judge in any future elections.

Mr Wong had cited practice in the UK to support his decision to preside over the debate.

Afterwards, Mrs Wong said she was disappointed by members accusing her of 'inviting the judiciary to interfere with Legco'.