Outgoing Finance Committee chairman Ng Leung-sing rates himself highly

Despite vote of no confidence and protests, Finance Committee chairman has no regrets

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 July, 2014, 6:57pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 July, 2014, 4:14am

Ng Leung-sing gave himself a pass mark yesterday for his chairmanship of the Finance Committee, but he didn't get much support from other lawmakers.

Out of 100 marks, Ng rated his performance over the past year at "60 to 80" per cent. And while he added that he would not apply to be chairman again in October, he did not rule out running for the position in the future.

That's despite Ng having a motion of no confidence tabled against him amid accusations he broke rules to force through funding for a controversial project.

He hit the headlines after he appeared to breach procedural rules by rushing through a vote on HK$340 million of funding for new towns in the northeastern New Territories, leading to an outcry and vilification by activists and villagers.

Yesterday, at the committee's end-of-session press conference, Ng described the confidence vote as "a fuss over nothing" and said he had no regrets about his handling of the application.

Democrat Emily Lau Wai-hing, the deputy chairwoman of the committee, was less generous in her assessment of Ng's work.

"You have lost your honour due to your own faults," Lau said. "I hope the next chairman will maintain the dignity of the Finance Committee."

Lau suggested that Ng should "reflect deeply" on the no-confidence motion.

Ng survived the vote thanks to the support of pro-establishment lawmakers. He said the chairman had to strike a balance between lawmakers' right to ask questions and ensuring the legislature operated efficiently.

However, he promised he would "do better" if he faced the same situation again.

The committee failed to discuss all the funding applications on its agenda before the summer break because of filibusters by more radical lawmakers.

Both Ng and Lau urged the government to discuss its plans with the public more effectively before submitting funding requests for lawmakers to assess.

The pair said they foresaw a new raft of contentious items on the agenda in the next session.

Ng pointed to the Town Planning Board's consultation on the New Territories development project, where only seven submissions were for the plan while over 40,000 were against.

The committee's debates about the funding request were accompanied by angry protests.

The Liberal Party's Tommy Cheung Yu-yan is expected to replace Ng as committee chairman in October.