The lawmakers who are rarely seen or heard

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 July, 2007, 12:00am

Members of the finance, commercial and sports sectors are either very content with the government or their legislative representatives had better things to do.

These are the conclusions that can be drawn from analysing the number of questions asked by legislators in the current session and their attendance records at council and panel meetings.

The three quietest legislators were David Li Kwok-po, who represents the finance sector, Philip Wong Yu-hong of the commercial sector and Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, who represents the sports, performing arts, culture and publications sector.

An analysis of attendance records up to last Thursday, a week before the summer recess, shows that Mr Li managed an attendance record at the two panels he sits on - financial affairs and economic services - of just 50 per cent, the lowest of all panel members.

And a look at the questions asked during Legislative Council meetings during the year - including those booked for reply at this week's final meeting - shows he had just four.

Mr Wong, a member of three panels, had an attendance rate at meetings of the home affairs and security panels of just 31 per cent and 22 per cent respectively. His record for the third, constitutional affairs, was better, at 50 per cent.

However, he seems to lack inquisitiveness, asking just two questions.

Mr Fok sits on five panels, but his attendance record at three - home affairs, planning lands and works, and information technology and broadcasting - was less than 37 per cent and at two others - constitutional affairs and commerce and industry- was 60 per cent.

He asked only one question in the entire Legco session.

Directly elected legislator Ma Lik was also very quiet at Legco, even though he is the chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

Mr Ma is a member of three panels - administration of justice and legal services, education and constitutional affairs - and had an attendance record of 44 per cent , 31 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

Mr Ma and Mr Fok got bottom marks for attending full council meetings, at 59 per cent.

None of the four legislators could be reached for comment.

Political commentator Ivan Choy Chi-keung said Mr Ma's low attendance was mainly because of ill health. The other three legislators' performance could be explained by the nature of their functional constituencies, he said.

'Voters' support is quite secure regardless of their performance,' Mr Choy said.

'This is not a new thing in functional constituencies. Since the election is non-competitive, it undermines legislators' accountability.' He said the situation was different in geographical constituencies.

Twenty-two members - just over a third of the total - attended meetings every Wednesday. Four directly elected legislators each asked at least 29 questions during council meetings. They were DAB members Lau Kong-Wah and Choy So-yuk, The Frontier's Emily Lau Wai-hing and Frederick Fung Kin-kee of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood.

Ms Lau is a member of eight panels, more than any other legislator. Her attendance rates range between 69 per cent and 94 per cent .

Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee scored between 89 per cent and 100 per cent attendance for the panels she sits on.

Albert Cheng King-hon is a member of only one panel - information technology and broadcasting - and had an attendance rate of 93 per cent. He asked six questions.