Lawmakers have clashed over whether the financial secretary should be punished over the controversy surrounding his new luxury car. Those from the opposition camp yesterday stepped up their campaign for an independent investigation of Antony Leung Kam-chung, with some calling for his removal. But pro-government lawmakers were more sympathetic, saying the case did not warrant any harsh penalty. The controversy erupted on Sunday after Mr Leung admitted that he had bought a $790,000 Lexus 430 only weeks ahead of increases in the vehicle registration tax announced in his Budget last week. The price of the car rose to $840,000 after the increases took effect. Mr Leung said he needed the car to transport his new-born baby girl and family. He later conceded he should not have bought the vehicle and that he would donate $100,000 to charity. This figure has now been raised to $380,000. The row has prompted pro-democracy independent legislator Albert Chan Wai-yip to stage a signature campaign today calling for Mr Leung's resignation. The Legco constitutional affairs panel is to convene a meeting as early as next Monday to discuss if Mr Leung has breached the code of conduct on ministers. Amid growing concerns that government integrity has been undermined, Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing wrote to Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa calling for an independent inquiry. 'You should carefully consider whether it is appropriate for the financial secretary to stay if investigation shows that he has made mistakes and has problems with his integrity,' Ms Lau said in her letter. Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, the legal sector representative, said Mr Leung had breached rules preventing a conflict of interest. The problem was not how much he had saved. And promising to donate the money would not help either, she said. Mr Leung should have declared the fact that he had bought a car ahead of the Budget. 'He owes the legislature and the public an explanation,' she said. Asked whether the incident had discredited the accountability system, Ms Ng said she did not think so as the system was already in a bad state, offering people little hope regarding government ministers. However, pro-government lawmakers sought to play down the controversy and said Mr Leung had only been negligent. Philip Wong Yu-hong, chairman of the Legco finance committee, said he saw no need for the panel to look into the matter. Describing it as a matter of negligence, Executive Councillor James Tien Pei-chun said the incident was not serious enough to warrant Mr Leung's removal. But he admitted people might question how Mr Leung had handled other matters, adding that the government's authority would be undermined as a result. He also backed moves by his Legco colleagues to look further into the matter.