Pan-democrats outstrip rivals, watchdog finds

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 August, 2008, 12:00am

Monitors rank Legco activity

Legislators in the pan-democratic camp have outperformed their rivals in the Beijing-loyalist bloc, according to a watchdog group.

The Legco Catholic Monitors' research, released yesterday, showed pan-democrats had on average moved more motions, raised more questions, and spoken more at the weekly full Legislative Council meetings in the past year.

It has also been the fourth consecutive year in the 2004-08 term that the pan-democrats have been rated as doing better.

On average, a pan-democrat has moved 5.2 motions or amendments, put forward 14.7 questions, and spoken 30.4 times during full council meetings in the 2007-08 year.

In comparison, a legislator from the Beijing-friendly bloc on average moved 3.1 motions or amendments, raised 7.7 questions, and spoke 17.4 times only.

The research found that among the pan-democrats, Lau Chin-shek was the least active. Mr Lau, along with nine other legislators moved no motions or amendments during the past year.

The watchdog group gave him 'very unsatisfactory' marks for his performance.

The nine others were Lau Wong-fat of the Liberal Party; Raymond Ho Chung-tai and Lui Ming-wah of The Alliance; and non-affiliated Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, Li Fung-ying, David Li Kwok-po, Philip Wong Yu-hong, Daniel Lam Wai-keung, and Chim Pui-chung.

But Lau Chin-shek, a directly elected legislator of the Kowloon West constituency, insisted: 'There are many ways to perform our duties as legislators. Some choose to speak more; others like me choose to do more concrete work.

'Motion debates can easily degenerate into unproductive disputes between rival camps. Not many concrete results come out of debates. I like to take another approach to press the government.'

Mr Lau was absent from 22 meetings and missed 325 votes during the 2004-08 term.

Mr Fok also received a 'reprimand' from the watchdog group.

A representative of the sports, performing arts, culture and publication sectors in the legislature, he has not moved a motion or an amendment for the past seven years and during the 2004-08 term, Mr Fok skipped a total of 52 full council meetings and missed 190 votes.

But, uncontested in forthcoming elections, Mr Fok will become a Legco member for another four years.

A group spokesman, Francis Hui Wai-bun, agreed attendance or taking part in debates might not fully reflect legislators' efforts.

'Quality of work is also important,' Mr Hui said.

'But if a legislator does not even attend meetings or move motions on issues of public interest, he can hardly said to be performing his duty properly.'

The group's research is conducted annually.