Legislators demand answers from the secretary for home affairs on his role in resignation of commission chairman Legislators yesterday demanded Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping appear before Legco to shed light on the controversy surrounding the Equal Opportunities Commission, whose chairman resigned on Thursday. The former EOC chairman did not attend a meeting of the Legislative Council home affairs panel yesterday, at which he was due to explain the sacking of a senior staffer and respond to personal allegations against him. Michael Wong Kin-chow resigned on Thursday, saying 'political persecution' and 'trial by media' had forced him to step down. But at the panel meeting yesterday, legislators said Mr Wong's resignation was not the end of the EOC saga. They demanded to know what happened at a meeting Dr Ho had with Mr Wong the night before Mr Wong's resignation and continued to call for a full explanation of the sacking of Patrick Yu Chung-yin before he had taken up his post as EOC director of operations. The legislators also called on the government to bring candidates for the chairperson's position before Legco before finalising the appointment. Last night, Dr Ho pledged to answer lawmakers' questions at a session next Friday. In a statement, he said the late notice he received of yesterday's session meant he was unable to reschedule an important briefing with the chief executive. Frontier lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said it was essential the home affairs panel be briefed before the new chairperson was appointed, because 'we have lost confidence' in the government over its appointment of Mr Wong. Mr Lee said it was wrong of the Home Affairs Bureau to have treated what he termed the 'political persecution' of Mr Yu as a simple labour dispute. 'Mr Wong told the previous chairwoman [Anna Wu Hung-yuk] she would be going to her own funeral and blamed her for pre-empting him in appointing Patrick Yu,' Mr Lee said. 'He disregarded the fact that a committee of five members selected Mr Yu and, based on an article in the South China Morning Post in which the reporter asked Mr Yu about anti-discrimination issues, he fired him.' Mr Lee said it was irresponsible of Mr Wong not to give an explanation and the bureau should have intervened before things got 'as messy' as they did. 'The administration should have warned Mr Wong not to persecute Mr Yu politically and should have warned him not to mess things up.' But Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Stephen Fisher said that while the administration had been following the developments, it would not intervene in the issues surrounding Mr Yu's sacking. 'The EOC is an independent statutory body and we cannot interfere with its operations. Once you start the precedent of intervention, then every time the administration is not happy with an appointment, it can interfere ... this sets a very dangerous precedent.' He said Dr Ho met Mr Wong privately because he wished to understand what the issues were instead of having to rely on speculation and media reports. Democratic Party legislator Albert Ho Chun-yan asked whether Mr Wong had been instructed, on his appointment, to cut costs, but Mr Fisher said the EOC had been told to cut spending like every other government-funded body. Mr Fisher said he did not understand Mr Wong's allegation that he had not received the support he deserved from government and had been politically persecuted. He said a new chairperson would be appointed as soon as possible. Asked to comment on the issue after speaking at the Women of Influence Conference yesterday, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang said the standing of the EOC was more important than the standing of any one person.