Legislators yesterday accused the education secretary of 'throwing a tantrum' and 'acting irresponsibly' after he carried out his threat to delay the kindergarten voucher scheme. Secretary for Education and Manpower Arthur Li Kwok-cheung had threatened the day before not to submit the funding application to Legco on schedule following criticisms aired at a meeting of the education panel. He made good on the threat yesterday by leaving the HK$2 billion proposal off the agenda for next Friday's meeting of the Finance Committee when it was submitted to chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing. 'The Education and Manpower Bureau said they needed more time to do consultation,' Ms Lau said. 'It is his [Professor Li's] right not to submit the proposal, but I think he should give us an explanation.' She said the earliest the scheme could now be approved by the committee would be December 15. In a written statement last night, the bureau said discussions would continue until a consensus was reached within the education sector on five principles. There is no timetable or deadline. The principles are: the need to distinguish profit-making and non-profit-making schools; schools under the voucher scheme must upgrade quality within five years; half-day schools may receive subsidies capped at HK$24,000 a year per student; transparency must be improved; and no salary scales for teachers. 'I feel he is just throwing a tantrum,' said Civic Party legislator Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung. 'He is trying to blackmail people, saying that if they don't do as they are told, then he will punish them. I don't believe he would dare not implement this scheme in 2007-2008.' 'I believe Professor Li is behaving unreasonably, irrationally, temperamentally and even irresponsibly,' he said. Professor Li ran the risk of 'undermining the credibility of Mr Tsang's administration' if the vouchers didn't go ahead on time.