Doubts emerge over whether the chairman had full backing to dismiss a key staffer Two board members of the Equal Opportunities Commission yesterday spoke out against their new chairman's decision to sack a key appointee of his predecessor, Anna Wu Hung-yuk. They denied a consensus existed to dismiss Patrick Yu Chung-yin from the post of operations director. Chairman Michael Wong Kin-chow has claimed that he had the board's full backing for the sacking. The decision to dismiss Mr Yu, who had been due to take up his post on November 1, has provoked a fierce debate. Critics point out that Mr Yu, a former commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, has extensive experience in the field. A statement released by the EOC on Friday said that at a meeting on September 18, Mr Yu's contract was discussed and the board members 'fully support the action taken by the chairman'. It said Mr Wong had been given 'full powers to handle Mr Yu's contract'. However, board members Nelson Chow Wing-sun, a social work professor at the University of Hong Kong, and Chan Yu, director of the Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres, said they had reservations about the statement. Mr Chow said Mr Yu's contract had been mentioned in the September 18 meeting, but there was no clear decision to sack him. 'Many possibilities were discussed,' Mr Chow told Cable TV News. 'To me, [the meeting] was not to support the chairman's decision, because the chairman did not have a decision then.' Ms Chan said she did not know about Mr Yu's dismissal until it was revealed in the media last week. However, other commission members told Cable TV that it was clear to them that Mr Yu was to be sacked. 'The final decision was that we accepted the chairman's suggestion - that is, to end the contract,' said Peter Yeung Kong-hing. Fellow board member Peggy Lam Pei Yu-dja, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Federation of Women, said that since Mr Wong had been granted power to handle Mr Yu's contract, whatever decision he made had the committee's backing. Mr Yu was appointed in July by Ms Wu, who had challenged the government in principal anti-discrimination cases. Mr Wong, a retired judge with no background in human rights advocacy, was appointed by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa to replace Ms Wu when her contract expired on July 31. Mr Yu has been closely involved in dealing with racism and ethnic minority issues in Ireland and had expected to advise the government. 'I think my experience in drafting a single bill [on racism] will be very useful for Hong Kong too, but I need to sense the situation there before making any recommendations,' Mr Yu told the South China Morning Post in July. After his sacking, Mr Yu said: 'Mr Wong said ... it was not my job to draft the anti-racism law.' Critics have pointed out that the September 18 meeting was held two days after Mr Yu was offered severance pay.