The Housing Authority yesterday approved the Government's request to freeze the sale of subsidised flats for 10 months. Only four members voted against the moratorium, announced last month by Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to stabilise the property market. Nineteen members voted for the move and two abstained. However, opponents were unhappy with the Government's handling of the issue. Member Ng Shui-lai, a social worker who strongly opposed the freeze, said: 'I feel very disappointed about the Government overriding the authority on public housing policies. This is a serious deviation from normal procedures.' Another member, Lau Kwok-yu, said: 'This is a very bad precedent in the handling of a public policy. According to usual practice, the authority's Home Ownership Committee should approve a decision before implementation. 'This time it has been imposed by higher authorities.' Member Wong Kwun criticised the authority for blindly yielding. 'I always felt the authority was a rubber stamp, but this time it's even worse.' Chan Kar-lok, who abstained, said he could not support the measure as the Government did not provide any convincing statistics on how the moratorium could help the property market. He also questioned capping sales at 9,000 flats a year until 2006. Siu Yuen-sheung, who backed the freeze, said members should not be too rigid about procedural matters in times of emergency. Authority chairman Cheng Hon-kwan did not vote. He said the authority had to study how the terrorist attacks on America would affect market confidence and demand for subsidised flats. The authority also endorsed measures on how to dispose of empty flats and increase housing loans. About 8,000 flats will be switched into public rental units, while some may be sold to tenants affected by redevelopment.