Raymond Wong Yuk Man

Ministers survive vote of no confidence

Cabinet's two most unpopular secretaries vow to improve their service to the public after lawmakers' no-confidence motion fails in Legco

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 3:50pm

The Legislative Council yesterday voted down a motion of no confidence in the widely criticised secretaries for development and education.

Lawmakers in the geographical seats passed the motion - proposed by People Power lawmaker Wong Yuk-man - 19-14, but it was defeated 10-21 in the functional constituency seats.

Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po has had to fend off accusations he owned illegally subdivided flats and a possible case of drink driving, while Education Secretary Eddie Ng Hak-kim has aroused strong public opposition during the national- education row, when thousands of protesters besieged the central government offices.

Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan slammed both secretaries, saying: "Leung's administration is facing an 'integrity cliff'. Chan is responsible for monitoring unauthorised building structures, yet he failed to make a public explanation of his family's rental of subdivided units. Instead, he repeatedly passed the buck to his wife."

Lee also cast doubt on Ng's ability, accusing him of hiding behind Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

Civic Party lawmaker Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok cited a University of Hong Kong poll which found that Paul Chan was the least popular and Ng was the second least popular minister.

"The accountability system has been in place for 10 years but no ministers are compelled to account to the public for the government's policy failures or on their personal integrity," he said.

Industrial sector lawmaker Lam Tai-fai said: "The legislature hopes to improve the relationship with the executive authorities in this term. However, I must say that we have failed to achieve this goal. In this session, the relationship between the administration and the Legislative Council can be said to have hit the lowest point since the handover. If the relationship is not improved, the administration will face a governance crisis."

He urged ministers to respond positively to public concerns and not rely on a superior - such as Lam - to take the blame.

Paul Chan told Legco that the allegations about his links to a company that owned subdivided flats were groundless, and that his wife had only nominal control of the company at the time.

Chan also promised that neither he nor his wife would invest in the local property market during his tenure. After media reports suggesting he had driven under the influence of alcohol, he said he would be more careful about his intake of alcohol.

"I will dedicate myself to the public service for the rest of my life," Chan vowed.

Ng said he would continue to consult and listen to the public.