Calls to monitor utilities

LEGISLATORS and unionists have called on the Government to tighten its scrutiny of public utilities to ensure they cannot withhold information important to the public interest.

Yesterday's appeal followed the outcome of the resumed inquest into the explosion at a China Light and Power plant in Tuen Mun last year, which killed two workers and injured 19 others.

Some legislators said they would raise the issue at the council and suggested setting up an ad hoc group to follow it up.

A labour sector representative in the Legco, Pang Chun-hoi, said: ''It is unfortunate that the truth could only be revealed until now because some information was covered up.

''The Government should review its monitoring system to ensure that such a thing will not happen again in the future.'' Mr Pang was supported by United Democrat Albert Chan Wai-yip who said he would try to summon China Light officials to Legco to explain why they withheld the information.

''The public have lost confidence in the company after the case. I believe the company owes the public an explanation,'' Mr Chan said.

His colleague Zachary Wong Wai-yin added: ''There must also be something wrong in the Government's investigation. They depended too heavily upon the information provided by the company. The Government should also review its investigation procedures.'' Chairman of the Association of the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims, Chan Kam-hong, who was helping the widows of the two killed engineers, said they would help them fight for more compensation.

Mr Chan added: ''The company has to improve its safety measures immediately to prevent another accident.'' Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions spokesman Leung Fu-wah said the federation welcomed the new verdict, which they believed produced a true and fair picture of the accident.

Meanwhile, the Labour Department said it would continue the prosecution which was adjourned twice since last April because of the resumed inquest.

The department is suing the company under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance under which it could be liable to a maximum fine of $30,000 and six months' imprisonment.