Equal Opportunities Commission

Lam Woon-kwong is a man of integrity and a welcome addition to Exco

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 July, 2012, 12:00am

I am relieved that the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, Lam Woon-kwong, has decided to remain as convenor of the Executive Council ('Exco convenor Lam to quit EOC role in January', July 12).

I have never understood the logic of those who demanded his resignation. They cited conflict of interest. Seriously, what conflict of interest?

The whole idea of the Executive Council is to bring in people with different expertise and perspectives to guide the collective deliberation of government policies.

If we follow the thinking of his critics to its logical conclusion, there should never have been any HSBC chiefs or the chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk on the council. They are there precisely because their views represent diversity and sensitivity to ward off potential problems in policy adoption and implementation.

As head of a quasi-government agency, Mr Lam is no different from the bureau chiefs of the government who are there in numbers.

There is no public body more transparent than the Equal Opportunities Commission. Mr Lam himself cannot possibly profit as convenor.

Arguably, his being there may give the commission a welcome higher profile in our community.

In his long and distinguished civil service career, Mr Lam has never been embroiled in any conflict-of-interest situation.

Respected for his level-headedness and effectiveness, he is one of the few former mandarins to command respect within and without the government, and whose knowledge of its inner workings makes him a much needed bridge between the civil service and the Executive Council.

The choice of Mr Lam as convenor is an inspired one by the new administration. It would be a sad day for Hong Kong if he had caved in to the knee-jerk reactions of politicians hungry to score cheap political points in an election year.

Lawmaker and commission member Frederick Fung Kin-kee has just lost my respect as a politician of integrity. Doesn't he know that Exco is a chamber for collective deliberations, not a place for political hanky-panky?

Even if he wanted to, Mr Lam couldn't hide any agenda. But to suspect the head of the Equal Opportunities Commission of having one is below the belt.

By defying unreason, Mr Lam helps to restore some sanity to this election-year madness.

Philip Yeung, Clear Water Bay