Last year an emotional Yeoh Eng-kiong wept and apologised when the Tung-appointed Sars expert committee released its report that pointed to deficiencies in the health-care system rather than laying blame on any official. Yesterday, the secretary for health, welfare and food was visibly angry when asked whether the government or Hospital Authority had taken pre-emptive action to discredit the Legco findings. Turning red and clenching his jaws, he said: 'Perhaps you should ask whoever made those allegations the basis of his allegations.' He said the government had 'always respected' the Legco select committee's work. Arriving 15 minutes later than scheduled, Dr Yeoh, in black suit with sky-blue tie and pocket handkerchief, was flanked by Director of Health Lam Ping-yan, Hospital Authority chairman Leong Che-hung and chief executive William Ho Shiu-wei. The men appeared uneasy in the tense atmosphere. Dr Yeoh gave opening remarks in Cantonese and English, then each of the others gave shorter remarks. Only four questions were entertained during the 40-minute press briefing. Dr Yeoh said he would continue the job of improving the health system. Asked if he would consider a salary cut to show remorse, he said: 'We have just received this ... report at 2.30pm. We have to look into the content with care.' He did not answer a question about whether former director of health Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun would be penalised. It was left to Dr Lam to say of his former boss: 'She contributed selflessly to combat the epidemic together with our colleagues ... I believe she had done her best.' The usually eloquent Dr Leong said in Cantonese: 'We had not made sufficient preparations and we have to apologise to the media.' Dr Ho said: '[For the] shortcomings in communication, personnel management, to our colleagues and the community, we would like to once again apologise.'