Motions to investigate Donald Tsang fail
Legislators voted down two motions in Legco's House Committee yesterday to investigate Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's dealings with tycoons.
However, Democrat Lee Wing-tat vowed to put the issue to the vote again on March 21 - this time before the full Legislative Council.
Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan warned that if Lee's motion was vetoed again, the party's three Legislative Council members would consider supporting the move to launch impeachment proceedings.
However, even with their support, the rallying cry from tourism-sector lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun as well as People Power and League of Social Democrats legislators to launch the impeachment process would still be short of the 15 lawmakers required to move a motion before the full council to begin such proceedings.
The Tsang issue remained top of the agenda despite his apology on Thursday, when he insisted that his trips on board the luxury yachts and private jets of tycoon friends and his plan to lease a Shenzhen penthouse from another billionaire did not affect his policymaking.
Lee's proposal yesterday asked the house to set up committees to investigate Tsang's behaviour by using its legal right to call anyone to testify before Legco. It was defeated by 29 votes to 21. A motion by the Labour Party to appoint a select committee to probe the scandals was defeated by 30 votes to 20.
Lee said: 'Many doubts of the public and lawmakers remain unresolved. He [Tsang] declined to name the tycoons he had met [during the trips]. He said they were private contacts. The tycoons were willing to travel with him on private jets and yachts. Who are they and do they have stakes in property or public-utility companies or other kinds of firms? The public has the right to know.'
Tam Yiu-chung, head of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said lawmakers should not act until the Independent Commission Against Corruption completed its investigation.
Meanwhile, former secretary for the civil service Joseph Wong Wing-ping said Tsang's refusal to name the tycoons was unacceptable. 'The public's interest should always come before an individual's privacy, especially in situations like this.'
Tsang has admitted failing to declare his plans to lease the Shenzhen flat from mainland property tycoon Bill Wong Cho-bau, who is a major investor in the Digital Broadcasting Corporation. It recently obtained special approval from the Chief Executive in Council to allow former education minister Arthur Li Kwok-cheung to be appointed its chairman.
Li yesterday said he had yet to accept the appointment.