Selina Chow's battle 'is conflict of roles'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 November, 2004, 12:00am

Exco member steps up the fight for mall tenants

Executive Councillor Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee has weighed into a new political row by taking a leading role in fighting for the interests of tenants affected by the Housing Authority's move to sell its shopping malls and car parks.

Political analysts said Mrs Chow's high-profile involvement might affect the council's image.

The Liberal Party vice-chairwoman is the convenor of a concern group representing shop tenants.

The group is demanding the Housing Authority and the new company, Link Management, promise that no hefty rent increases will be imposed after the firm is listed.

Mrs Chow also proposed a motion at Legco's housing panel meeting on Monday calling for the listing plan to be suspended until an agreement between the company and tenants was struck.

The non-binding motion was passed by lawmakers.

She is now following up the issue with Secretary for Housing, Planning and Land Michael Suen Ming-yeung, and trying to get the company and tenants talking.

Under Exco's rules of collective responsibility, members should support government policies once a decision is made.

Members are also supposed to lobby the public for support.

But Mrs Chow, who is also a directly elected legislator representing New Territories West, dismissed suggestions that her roles might be conflicting.

'We don't oppose the listing of the company, but the problem is if many tenants are worried about their future. This could pose obstacles for the listing plan,' Mrs Chow said.

'I just want to resolve the problems between the tenants and the authority.'

She also said Exco did not have any role to play in the Housing Authority's privatisation plan.

Independent lawmaker Albert Cheng King-hon said he would welcome any Exco member fighting for the interests of the grassroots, but said there was a conflict in Mrs Chow's roles.

Li Pang-kwong, of Lingnan University, said Mrs Chow's actions were inappropriate as she seemed to offer only conditional support to the plan.

But Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, professor at City University's department of public and social administration, said he did not see any problems with Mrs Chow's actions as she had simply been playing the role of an adviser to the government.