Consumer Council gets new chief

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 July, 2007, 12:00am

Moderate pan-democrat Anthony Cheung Bing-leung has been given another cap to wear - Consumer Council chairman - making him one of the few former core members of the camp to head a post-handover statutory body.

The City University professor of public and social administration has been a member of the council since 2002, and is no stranger to public life.

Appointed to the Executive Council when Donald Tsang Yam-kuen succeeded Tung Chee-hwa as chief executive in 2005, he sits on government advisory bodies including the Housing Authority, the Standing Commission on Civil Service Salaries and Conditions of Service, and the operations review committee of the Independent Commission Against Corruption. He founded the policy think-tank SynergyNet in 2002.

A founding member of the Democratic Party, he gave up his membership three years ago.

He said yesterday that he did not see any potential conflicts of interest, adding that an academic should contribute to society in every way possible.

He said having the head of the Consumer Council sit on the Executive Council could be beneficial.

'If a matter is eventually debated in the Executive Council, I would have direct access to high-level discussion,' he said.

Professor Cheung said that as Consumer Council chairman, his top priority would be lobbying the government to bring in a comprehensive law to crack down on sales malpractices. He aims to produce legislative proposals by the end of the year.

The Legislative Council this month endorsed a motion calling for tougher measures against unscrupulous sales practices in the pay-TV and telecommunications sectors.

The professor said better protection for consumers would not harm Hong Kong businesses, but promote 'an environment that is conducive to fair trade'.

He also said he hoped to expand the council, which has 124 staff.

Professor Cheung succeeds Chan Ka-keung, who has taken over as secretary for financial services and the treasury.