All Around Town, October 25 2012
Fishing in the family, says sector's lawmaker
How much of an agricultural or fishing background does one need to represent farmers and fishermen in the legislature? Not much, in the case of the newly elected member for the agriculture and fisheries sector Steven Ho Chun-yin. Ho, 32, has confirmed that he is neither a fisherman nor a farmer, but worked for a logistics firm before he became a legislator. There are, however, family links. "My grandfather had 10 children, of whom five worked in the agriculture and fisheries sector," Ho said. "I used to help them deal with policy matters, and they encouraged me to run." He added that one of his uncles works for a firm that helps transport ice for fishermen.
Ho confirmed his bid for the Legco seat after predecessor Wong Yung-kan announced that he was not seeking another term. Ho won 105 votes in the ballot on September 9, beating Chen Mei-tak, with 18.
Ho is a member of the Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB).
Can Elsie speak freely? Mo doesn't think so
Everyone has free speech, but for some speech is less free than for others. That Orwellian notion was put forward yesterday by Civic Party legislator Claudia Mo Man-ching, a former journalist and loyal defender of free speech. She was speaking as the Legislative Council justice and legal services panel considered holding a special session to discuss criticism of the legal profession by Elsie Leung Oi-sie, vice-chairwoman of the Basic Law Committee. The former justice chief said the profession's lack of understanding of the Beijing-Hong Kong relationship led sometimes to wrong decisions. The discussion turned into a debate about whether Leung is a retiree and whether former officials should enjoy the same freedom of speech as everyone else.
"Freedom of speech is not equal among everyone," Mo said. "Leung, as a high-ranking and important member of the Basic Law Committee, should not speak arbitrarily."
The DAB's Chan Kam-lam, opposing the idea, accused the pan-democrats of engaging in "white terror".
The matter will now be put on the panel's agenda and discussed at an ordinary meeting at the end of next month at the earliest.
Subtle differences divide two Chans
Differences, albeit subtle, between two members of the pro-establishment camp led one to accuse the other yesterday of being "too obedient" to the government. The rift occurred as legislators were debating an amendment moved by DAB lawmaker Gary Chan Hak-kan to a motion about the three proposed new towns in the northeastern New Territories. "I won't support your amendment," Chan Yuen-han, a Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker, told Gary Chan. "You are too obedient in raising those ideas." Actually the two raised similar amendments to the motion tabled by Emily Lau Wai-hing. Both disagreed with suggestions that the project should be shelved. Chan Yuen-han called for preservation of farmland, while Gary Chan asked for more public housing in the future new towns.