Rethink on election plan
By LINDA CHOY
A HONG KONG Polytechnic lecturer said yesterday he would rethink his plan to contest next year's Legislative Council election now that the move might cost him his job.
Hung Wing-tat, lecturer in the civil and structural engineering department, said he needed to balance his responsibility to his family against the public interest.
Mr Hung recently was re-elected to the Central and Western District Board. That brought him under the influence of the polytechnic's new policy on 'staff engagement in public office through election'.
Elected public officers have to decide either to forgo part of their salary in proportion with the working hours they devote to public office; to apply for unpaid leave; or to resign.
Exemption is possible if the lecturers can prove their teaching will not be affected.
'It seems quite obvious that the school's attitude is that if you are elected to Legco, you had better become a full-time legislator,' Mr Hung said.
He said this would mean giving up his teaching post to opt for a job which had 'no medical benefits, nor housing subsidy, nor education allowance'.
'Compare the terms of a legislator with that of mine at the polytechnic - I do not think I will give up my job,' he said.
Mr Hung said his case reflected common problems facing ordinary employees who wanted to participate in public affairs.
'I think it is a problem for many in society. The reality is that ordinary employees will suffer great pressure if they want to become elected councillors,' he said.
Mr Hung said he would try to convince his department head that his district board duties would have little impact on his teaching.
He called on the polytechnic to apply the policy to all staff with outside interests instead of only the elected officers.
But he said it was reasonable for the polytechnic to introduce the policy to maximise use of its resources.
Calling the policy 'spiritually correct', Mr Hung said it was in the interests of the polytechnic to make sure its staff were devoted to teaching.
'It is the role of the polytechnic to make sure that the grants from the University and Polytechnic Grants Committee are used cost-effectively, or else the committee and even the Legislative Council will be on its back to challenge its resource management,' he said.