Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 March, 2009, 12:00am

Democrats fail to button down issue

The questioning of Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen about the controversial appointment of Heung Yee Kuk leader Lau Wong-fat to the Executive Council was expected to be a long, fiery affair yesterday. But it came to an abrupt end when only one legislator, Lee Cheuk-yan, followed up on the original question raised by Ronny Tong Ka-wah.

Rumours had flown that Mr Lau was appointed in return for his co-operation with pro-Beijing groups during last year's Legco election.

Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan admitted they had made a mistake. With the issue being the first agenda item of the day, not all members were there from the start. 'By the time I got in, I saw Civic Party members in front of me,' he said. 'I presumed they had all pressed the button to raise questions, so I took my time.' He was wrong.

Not that it would have made a difference. When repeatedly asked by Mr Lee whether the central government's liaison office had been consulted, Mr Tang stuck to the line that under the Basic Law the appointment or removal of Exco members should be decided by the chief executive.

Trouble - it runs in the family

As chairman of a Democratic Party plagued by a split dubbed the 'true brothers' saga not long ago, Mr Ho was no doubt qualified to comment on Henry Tang's likening of the row over Hongkongers being denied entry to Macau as a matter concerning 'brothers from the same family'. 'I'm not sure it's a case about true brothers, or fake brothers,' Mr Ho said. 'What I know is that all our brothers are in trouble.'

Guess who's coming to dinner?

League of Social Democrats chairman Wong Yuk-man was full of praise for Legco president Tsang Yok-sing despite being one of the most vocal critics of Mr Tsang taking up the post, due to his refusal to reveal whether he was a member of the Chinese Communist Party.

'Over the past few months, the president's decisions have been fair,' Mr Wong said, adding that the three league lawmakers would attend a dinner hosted by Mr Tsang on March 16.

Burying the hatchet with a smile

There are no permanent enemies in politics - with Liza Wang Ming-chun and Bernard Chan proving to be no exception to the rule.

Ms Wang and Mr Chan, who fired salvos at each other over the revitalisation of North Kowloon Magistracy, shook hands and wore broad smiles in front of the cameras at a cocktail reception organised by the Hong Kong government for local delegates to the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing.

Ms Wang, chairwoman of the Chinese Artists Association, has been bitter about last month's decision by the advisory committee on the revitalisation of historic buildings to award tenancy of the North Kowloon Magistracy building to US-based Savannah College of Art and Design. Mr Chan is chairman of the committee.

Mr Chan, a Hong Kong deputy to the NPC, told Ms Wang yesterday there should be more suitable ways to promote Cantonese opera. Ms Wang, a CPPCC delegate, said: 'I hope that the government will give preference for local organisations in using the venues.'