A former medical council chief helping to investigate the government's handling of the crisis 'has no political agenda' A Hong Kong medical expert appointed to investigate the Sars outbreak has pledged impartiality in assessing the government's handling of the crisis. Former Medical Council chairwoman Rosie Young Tse-tse conceded that having Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Yeoh Eng-kiong as chairman of the expert panel may give the public the impression that Dr Yeoh was investigating his own performance. Speaking to the South China Morning Post yesterday, Professor Young, who is also the former pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, said she had no political agenda in taking up her new role. 'I will be absolutely impartial in the investigation. I am not a government official and I have no political agenda. The other members are all very distinguished experts, they will not be easily influenced by anyone.' Professor Young said the investigation would aim to find out the truth and would not be targeted at any individual. 'Although Sars has died down, another infectious disease may emerge in future and we have to be well prepared. We have to learn the lesson.' She said the panel would meet for the first time next month after the overseas members arrived. They would conduct interviews, review documents and visit hospitals. It is not known if any public hearings will be held. Professor Young and Lee Shiu-hung, professor emeritus of community medicine at the Chinese University and ex-director of health, are the two local non-government experts in the panel. The overseas experts include former director of the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Jeffrey Koplan, former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health Harvey Fineberg and World Health Organisation Sars expert team member Meirion Evans. At the Legco health services panel yesterday, Democratic Party legislator Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said Dr Yeoh had too much work to handle and might be hard-pressed to meet a September deadline to complete a report. 'You have a lot to do. I am not challenging your ability to review the work but people question that you are looking into your own work,'' Mr Cheng said. Fellow Democrat Yeung Sum agreed. 'We want to let people see that it is being done in an impartial manner,' he said. But Dr Yeoh said: 'If I do not take up the job of being in charge of the investigation or the review, who else?' The health services panel had earlier passed a non-binding motion calling for the establishment of a select committee to investigate the handling of the outbreak. The panel chairman and legislator representing the medical sector, Lo Wing-lok, feared that the overseas experts might not know much about the Hong Kong situation. The Liberal Party and the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong have objected to the proposal to form a select committee. The House Committee will vote on the proposal tomorrow. However, Liberal Party chairman and executive council member James Tien Pei-chun said the government should consider appointing a retired judge to lead its investigation into the outbreak. Ip Kwok-him, vice-chairman of the DAB voiced support for the government's review committee.