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  • Aug 18, 2014
  • Updated: 3:35am
CommentInsight & Opinion
LEADER

No room for advantage

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 August, 2013, 4:11am

Lawmakers see themselves as the watchdog of just about anything. From official's conduct to individual corporate dealings, they will not shy away from criticising whenever something does not smell right to them. It was not that long ago when they blasted former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen in unison for accepting sponsored trips and other favours from tycoons. Ironically, some members have accepted a Cathay Pacific junket to France this month; and still insist there is nothing wrong when it was disclosed by the media.

It remains unclear why the eight lawmakers and an executive councillor were selected. The highlight of the six-day trip is said to be the handover ceremony of an aircraft at the Airbus factory near Toulouse. But the stopover for sightseeing in Paris and the medieval castle in Carcassone means it is not just a work visit. It raises eyebrows further when they were allowed to bring along a family member; some even rode on the junket for their own vacation and work trips elsewhere.

A wide-range of plausible explanations has been given, but none appears to be convincing. One lawmaker said she simply did not understand why it became an issue, referring to numerous sponsored trips enjoyed by others over the years. Another member said the group was there to learn about the aviation industry. But the revelation that Cathay Pacific has renewed its opposition against a new budget airline during a briefing session has raised questions over conflict of interest.

Exco and Legco are the two most important political organs, with the former vested with the highest decision-making power while the latter holds the key to public funding and legislation. Their decisions can affect aviation business from time to time.

True, lawmakers only have to declare sponsored trips within 14 days under the present rule. But the question obviously goes beyond declaration. The controversies surrounding Tsang and other top officials in recent years show the community expects the highest standard from politicians. Practices unquestioned in the past are not necessarily acceptable today. The incident reflected badly on lawmakers' sensitivity and judgment. They should at least pay for the spouse's expenditure. Legco should also study whether rules should be tightened.

Adherence to the letters of the rules can no longer satisfy the rising expectations on public servants. Lawmakers and Exco members should avoid accepting advantages wherever possible, lest it could be seen as compromising their duties.

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johnyuan
As legal matters progress at snail pace in Hong Kong, Mr. Ivan Chu ascendance in March next year is timely selected to be the CE of Cathay Pacific. He will then face the music of the current flying to Paris fiasco for the legislators. He would too under the pressure for Cathay to lobby against Jetstar and lobby for the third runway. Chu being not a British perhaps was the prime consideration for the promotion in relationship of the anticipated tasks. It is highly possible that Cathay this time has no confidence to get what it wishes. Any failure will be unprecedented in its history and should never happened under a full blooded Brit. John Slosar is prepared leaving the kitchen when it is getting too hot. The open collusion of the trip was a handy gamble of no consequence to him.
Dao-Phooy
Yes, I checked the other day. Same old,same old faces - it actually opened my eyes to the revolving door in HK. To those who have much is given and given and given! Are these the only talented people in HK? I really want to send everybody in Government and now Legco a copy of Animal Farm. Just in case they don't understand the book then I'd like to point out that you are the pigs - all of your snouts in the feeding trough! Top civil servants and ministers failing on a daily basis to justify their eye-watering salaries and perks. The stench of corruption reeking strongly now. What a disaster for HK!
dynamco
www.hongkongairport.com/eng/pdf/media/publication/report/12_13/E_09_The_Board.pdf
Check out some of the members on the Board of the Hong Kong Airport Authority
Are you surprised ?
The Honourable Albert Ho Chun-yan . Member of theLegislative Council. Tuen Mun District Council Member.
Member of the ICAC Complaints Committee.(Gee!)
Mr Stanley H ui Hon-chung JP
Chief Executive Officer
Former Chief Executive Officer of Dragonair and Chief Operating Officer of Air Hong Kong.
The Honourable Chan Kam-lam Member of the Legislative Council
Chairman of the Panel on Transport, Member of the Finance Committee
The Honourable Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung Non-official Member of the Executive Council. Member
of the Legislative Council.
Ms Miriam Lau Kin-yee GBS JP Liberal Party ex Transport Functional Constituency member in Legco
ayaaaaaaaaah!
daniel18
When Greedy Chubby Albert Ho and Hypocritic saint James To critizied Donald Tsang for being greedy, they donno what it is called"the pot calling the kettle black". Merely a 3-year kid can tell what the different among u guys. How can the stupid two walk out of the fire and remain unfazed? Both are so-called "lawyer and lawmaker". Dont fool the public, please! We are not law-profession, but at least, we can tell right from wrong.
dynamco
hkupop.hku.hk/english/report/budgetAirline2013/content/resources/pr.pdf
Survey reveals Hong Kong’s demand for LCCs
Near 70 per cent of Hong Kong residents surveyed recently said they intended to travel on a low cost carrier (LCC) in the next 12 months despite LCCs only representing six per cent of all flights into and out of Hong Kong International Airport.
The research, conducted by the Public Opinion Programme at the University of Hong Kong (HKUPOP) on behalf of Jetstar Hong Kong, also confirmed the ongoing appetite from local residents for more low cost travel with 84 per cent saying they would welcome more LCCs to the market.
Key findings of the research:
• 79% of Hong Kong people said they will fly more if the fares are lower
• 81% of people said they would spend more on hotels and activities if they saved on their airfare
• 84% welcome more home-based LCC airlines
• Nearly 70% of Hong Kong people said they intend to travel on an LCC in the next 12 months
Jetstar Hong Kong CEO Edward Lau said the research indicated strong flow on benefits of more low cost carrier travel with 81 per cent of respondents saying they would spend more on their hotel and holiday activity if they could save on the airfare.
“By making air travel more accessible to more people, not only will we see more people travelling more often, but we will see people spending more money at their destination including those visiting Hong Kong,” Mr Lau said.
the sun also rises
agree with SCMP's editorial that there is no room for advantage now in the territory to major public figures such as top officials, top advisors and lawmakers as well. As all know, Cathay Pacific is a British company owned by Swire Brothers (though it is public-listed in Hong Kong and used to claim to be a Hongkongers' company) and is certainly a commercial organistation ! How could it offer anyone interests without thinking of the benefits it might bring to the company ? 'There is no free lunch ! Return tickets of commercial class to Paris plus catering and accomodation provided by Cathay Pacific is definitely a hospitality as described by one of the participants, lawmaker Ip Kwok-him ! During the tour,both Exco member, Cheng Yiu-tong and all the nine lawmakers were briefed by their host about the construction of a third runway and Cathay's objection of the issue of a licence to Jetstar to operate a budget airline in Hong Kong (which might adversely affect Cathay's passenger-travel business ) but benefits quite a lot of Hong Kong air travellers with little resources !
dynamco
UPDATE: Legco members Abraham Shek & Andrew Leung also on the freeloader junket
Group photo shows 28 CX sponsored freeloaders 16 women & 12 men
Who are the Baptist University couple ?
Legco
DEMOCRATS Legco declaration of interest form date CX sponsored Trip to France
1 Albert Ho Chun-yan declaration 23/8 for trip 16-21/8
2 James To Kun-sun declaration 23/8 for trip 16-21/8
ACCOUNTING
3 Kenneth Leung declaration 13/8 for trip 16-21/8
DAB
4 Ip Kwok-him declaration 20/8 for trip 17-21/8
5 Elizabeth Quat declaration 20/8 for trip 16-21/8 via Frankfurt
LIBERAL Party
6 Felix Chung Kwok-pan declaration 21/8 for trip 17-21/8
INDEPENDENTS
7 Chan Kin-por declaration 22/8 for trip 16-21/8 (also adds Scottish Parliament trip 12-16/8 2013)
8 Ma Fung-kwok declaration 21/8 for trip 17-21/8
REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION
9 Abraham Shek Lai-Him declaration 22/8 for trip 19-20 /8 adds ‘a donation $50,000 to be made to HK Unison for acceptance of this free trip’
INDUSTRIAL (First)
10 Andrew Leung Kwan-Yuen declaration 08/7 registered 24/7 for trip 18-21/8
EXCO
11 Cheng Yiu-tong Chairman HKFTU
www.ceo.gov.hk/exco/eng/cheng_yiu-tong.html
www.ceo.gov.hk/exco/pdf/Cheng_Yiu-tong_e.pdf declaration 09 /8 2013 for trip 17-21
AIRPORT AUTHORITY former chief executive
12 Billy Lam Chung-lun
AIRPORT AUTHORITY board member
13 Huen Wong
Unnamed academic from Baptist University
14 HU Da-fok RU
dynamco
see my update
Two more Legco Toulouse junket members revealed (seemingly unbeknown to the press)
so now 10 Legco members, 1 Exco member, 2 HKAA 3rd runway lobbyists
plus an unnamed academic from Baptist University
(HU Da-fok RU)
Byebye
"Adherence to the letters of the rules can no longer satisfy the rising expectations on public servants. Lawmakers and Exco members should avoid accepting advantages wherever possible, lest it could be seen as compromising their duties." ~ Cathay Pacific offered the bait and these Lawmakers took it: watchdog becomes lapdog! Is CX accountable too for offering the bait?
XYZ
Every one of these lawmakers should resign, or be investigated for accepting an advantage, or both.
If not, then it shows just how far and how fast Hong Kong has fallen, to the point where blatant corruption is staring us in the face and nothing is done about it.

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