Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen last night warned against stirring up anti-government sentiments over collusion, saying it would harm Hong Kong's business environment. His remarks came as pro-government and pro-business parties blocked a motion in Legco calling for the rooting out of collusion between officials and businessmen. Their watered-down version of the motion calling for greater transparency was also blocked. The row over the issue intensified recently after Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa stated in his policy address that he opposed collusion. In the course of last night's heated debate in Legco, during which the pro-democracy camp cited the Cyberport project among other deals as evidence of collusion, Mr Tang dismissed the charges and said the city remained clean and open. He warned against creating an 'anti-government agenda' which would ultimately harm society and the economy. 'If society is filled with distrust and sees normal partnerships as a transfer of interests and collusion, it will create great pressure on the government and business sector,' he said. Mr Tang added the private sector was the backbone of the economy and should be provided with a sound business environment. Moving the motion, Emily Lau Wai-hing of The Frontier called for a monitoring system to be set up, and for a review of the political system to plug loopholes that allow backroom deals. Pro-democracy lawmakers and those representing the grass roots generally supported the motion. Lee Wing-tat, chairman of the Democratic Party, said the government should not ignore the problem by saying there was no evidence of collusion. 'Many respondents in recent surveys believe collusion exists in society, and this is not an issue of whether we have hard evidence,' he said. 'When such a large chunk of society has such an impression, the situation is very serious.' Tam Yiu-chung of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong said that while there was a need to reform the civil service and urban planning system, a democratic system would not lead to a 'clean' society. Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, a representative of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, moved an amendment to water down the motion, and said collusion did not exist in Hong Kong.