Liberals hog government advisory system: survey

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 July, 1999, 12:00am

Appointments to government advisory bodies are heavily skewed towards the Liberal Party, a South China Morning Post investigation has shown.

Lawyers and company directors, particularly men, dominate the government advisory system - even on social issues where their professional experience has no clear relevance.

Women and grassroots workers - even pro-Beijing trade unionists - are much less likely to have an advisory role, the survey showed.

Liberal Party Legco member Kenneth Ting Woo-shou sits on nine advisory committees, in breach of internal government guidelines which state that no one should be on more than six.

Liberal party legislators Edward Ho Sing-tin, Ronald Arculli, Sophie Leung Lau Yau-fun, Howard Young and Miriam Lau Kin-yee each sit on five.

Liberal Party member Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, an industrialist, sits on 11, the third highest of any adviser.

Mr Leung said it was natural that a party that 'supports the business way of looking at things' would have members prominent in advisory bodies.

He said the main aim of the committees was 'doing something for the good of Hong Kong'.

The Post survey analysed every advisory body in the newly-issued official list. It analysed 5,619 memberships on 374 committees, including key policy bodies such as the Hospital Authority, Housing Authority and Education Commission.

Dr Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, head of City University's Department of Public and Social Administration and a former Democratic Party legislator, said the system represented a form of 'patronage'.

The allegation of bias was contested by David Tsui Kwan-ping, deputy secretary for Home Affairs, who said officials had good reasons for choosing every member of every committee.

'This is not a political system,' Mr Tsui said. 'It has grown out of community participation.'