Few trade and pro-Beijing Legco candidates answer survey

Few would-be Legco members for functional seats can be bothered to respond to survey

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2012, 3:27pm

Functional constituency and pro-Beijing lawmakers have frequently complained of being unjustly maligned for underperforming, but their candidates' lukewarm response to the Post survey about where they stand on controversial issues might help reinforce that negative image.

All 127 slates of candidates for geographical and functional constituencies were invited earlier this month by the Post to answer a questionnaire covering wide-ranging contentious topics on political and social problems.

However, only 12 of the 53 candidates running for traditional trade-based seats responded.

A member of a watchdog group on the performance of legislators said the response rate once again demonstrated functional constituency lawmakers were only interested in issues related to their sector.

Alfred Choy Man-kit, a member of Catholic Monitors, said he was not surprised by the lukewarm responses from the trade-seat candidates, and surveys conducted by other non-governmental organisations encountered a similar situation.

"The trade-seated candidates thought they were only accountable to their sector's voters. Therefore, they would be evasive on controversial topics or issues not related to their sector interest," Choy said.

The Liberal Party replied on behalf of its four members running in the catering, wholesale and retail, transport, and textiles and garments constituencies. The Civic Party and Democratic Party also replied for their members running in legal and architectural, surveying and planning sectors respectively.

The independent candidates who responded to the survey were the legal sector's Huen Wong, the accountancy sector's Peter Chan Po-fun, the education sector's Ip Kin-yuen, the financial services sector's Tang Yu-lap, the information technology sector's Charles Mok and Patrick Lau Sau-shing of the architectural, surveying and planning sector.

Except for the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, all other pan-democratic parties responded.

In contrast, major pro-Beijing factions such as the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which has 12 slates of candidates running and two members returned unopposed, and the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, which has five lists of candidates running and two labour sector seats returned uncontested, declined to reply.

A DAB campaigner said: "We do not reply to any questionnaire during the election period irrespective of the background of the pollster."

A spokeswoman for FTU candidate Chan Yuen-han's campaign office said: "Our candidates are tied up with campaigning and are not free to meet up and complete the long questionnaire."