Former Legco president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai yesterday called for a showdown over allegations against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying by his former staunch supporter Lew Mon-hung, which she said showed "a rather ugly side of politics".
Fan, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, suggested both sides step forward to put their cases.
"If there is evidence, [Lew] should bring it out. Otherwise, it is hard for the public to trust him," said Fan. "To be honest, I totally do not know whom to trust. My only feeling is that I am a bit upset about it."
She described the controversy as a gathering of "dark clouds" which "should be blown away as soon as possible".
Fan had been tipped as a possible candidate in last year's battle to become chief executive in the event of Leung's main rival and the one-time frontrunner - Henry Tang Ying-yen - standing down amid the infamous illegal basement scandal at his Kowloon Tong mansion.
Lew, a member of China's top political advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, turned from friend to foe in a damning interview with the Chinese-language iSun Affairs magazine published last week. He claimed Leung had lied over his handling of unauthorised extensions at his Peak homes, and had failed to honour a promise to appoint him to the Executive Council in reward for his support during the election campaign.
So far he has not presented any written evidence to substantiate his claims, although he has dared Leung to take a lie detector test - and said he would jump off the 420-metre-high Two IFC building if Leung passed.
Lew is on bail after he was arrested earlier this month as part of an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation into the listed company Pearl Oriental Oil, of which he is a deputy chairman and executive director. There was speculation Lew would lose his CPPCC seat given the ICAC investigation.
Leung was staying tight-lipped yesterday. He did not respond to reporters' questions aboard a charity flight organised by Cathay Pacific Airways for children from poor, single-parent families.
In a recorded interview with ATV, broadcast last night, Leung dismissed Lew's allegations as: "Nothing new, nothing true."
He told Newsline host Michael Chugani: "What [Lew] said about my houses on The Peak was not true. [These issues] were actually properly responded to a couple of months ago in my written statement which [was] advertised in newspapers."
He also denied having described the opposition pan-democrats as "the enemy".
"I invited the democratic lawmakers to breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and other sessions … They don't always turn up … I see them as partners and I see all lawmakers at the Legislative Council as partners."
In a TVB interview on Saturday, Leung declined to confirm whether he had promised to offer Lew an Exco seat but said: "I will make comments when it is needed and at the appropriate time."
Leung's deputy, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, backed up the chief executive on this issue yesterday.
Lew could not be reached for comment.