The senior official at the centre of the penny stocks fiasco acted 'in good faith' and did not breach the code of conduct for government ministers, Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung said yesterday. Mr Lam's defence of the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Frederick Ma Si-hang, came after Democrats attacked the minister for misleading Legco over the blunder. The row stemmed from a proposal by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing in July to delist low-priced stocks, which sent share prices plunging. The exchange was later forced to withdraw the plan. Mr Ma was widely criticised by lawmakers for failing to read background papers that the exchange sent to him on the plan, and was accused of misleading Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung and Legco over the incident. A government-appointed panel later cleared Mr Ma of any wrongdoing, but he later made a public apology for his role in the fiasco. During question time in Legco yesterday, Democrats renewed their attack and demanded to know whether Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa would punish officials if they breached the code for ministers in future. Mr Lam said Mr Ma had not intentionally misled Legco by saying he had not received background papers from the exchange. 'Throughout the process Mr Ma had acted in good faith and dealt with the issue according to his understanding of the situation.' He said Mr Ma had not breached the ministerial code. 'He definitely had no intention to mislead Legco, and had not made any misleading comments to the public,' Mr Lam said.