POLITICS

Godfrey Leung King-kwok's 'instant fame' remark riles lawmakers

Godfrey Leung blasted for not reflecting on his faults after Legco chief fails to identify him

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 5:31am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 5:31am

Commerce undersecretary Godfrey Leung King-kwok has vowed to do more to boost ties with lawmakers, after the Legislative Council chief was left red-faced when he failed to identify Leung at a meeting last week.

But Leung's remark that he should thank Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing for bringing him overnight fame has annoyed his critics, who slammed the undersecretary for failing to reflect on his faults.

"He didn't become famous," industrial-sector lawmaker Lam Tai-fai said. "As an undersecretary, he should have taken the initiative to contact lawmakers and the industrial and commercial sectors … He just didn't reflect."

Accountancy-sector lawmaker Kenneth Leung, also a member of the Legco economic panel, agreed that the undersecretary was not doing enough in reaching out to lawmakers.

"The environment minister was the first to call me after I was elected in 2012 … The labour and welfare bureau was also quite active," the lawmaker said. "But I have not met Godfrey Leung."

The undersecretary had yesterday spoken about the Legco chief's gaffe made last Friday.

"I wasn't unhappy … In fact, I have to thank Tsang for making me suddenly famous," he joked.

Asked if he was not doing enough to make himself known, Leung said: "There's always more you can do. I've always visited lawmakers and, after this incident, I'll have to be more diligent and visit more lawmakers."

Leung said he would arrange a meeting with Tsang today.

Meanwhile, Tsang, speaking separately, said he hoped officials would not need such incidents to become known to the public.

But the Legco chief also said officials tended to be keener in lobbying other lawmakers rather than the Legco head, so it was not strange he had yet to meet Leung seven months after the undersecretary assumed his HK$183,000-a-month post.

Tsang was embarrassed last Friday when a lawmaker asked him to name the undersecretary. After flipping through his papers and having a discussion with his assistant, Tsang eventually asked Godfrey Leung to identify himself. The incident renewed questions about the roles of undersecretaries and political assistants, who are appointed to help ministers liaise with lawmakers but have been criticised for their high salaries yet limited impact.