The new ministers may have only been in place for a matter of days, but they have already made a positive impression in one quarter: they appear more prepared to turn up at the Legislative Council to answer lawmakers' questions, Legco's House Committee chairwoman said. Miriam Lau Kin-yee noted that 10 of the 12 policy secretaries agreed to attend Legco panel meetings this month. 'I'm not sure why the other two are not coming, but it's certainly not because they refused,' the Liberal Party lawmaker said yesterday. Committee vice-chairman Fred Li Wah-ming, a Democrat, said Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen seemed keener to chat during his weekly meetings with Ms Lau and himself than in the past. 'At least he doesn't look as though he's in a rush to leave after two minutes,' he said, referring to former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan, whom he referred to as 'the silent CS'. Ms Lau said there had been a slight improvement in co-operation between the executive and the legislature during its just-ended term. Even so, she noted, she wrote to Mr Hui last month to convey members' dissatisfaction with the apparent drop in ministers' attendance at panel meetings in the past three years. 'When a principal official does not attend, there is still a senior government representative. But the problem with that is that when pressed on a particular issue by lawmakers, the representative is not in a position to give a definitive answer on the spot,' Ms Lau said. Figures show ministers attended an average of 37 per cent of panel meetings in the past three years. In his reply to Ms Lau, Mr Hui said attendance was 'but one of many means to demonstrate the administration's accountability to Legco', and questioned whether the attendance figures showed a 'consistent, discernable trend'. When he campaigned for re-election, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen pledged to improve co-operation between the executive and legislature, and to require officials to 'proactively solicit' the opinions of political parties and the public. Ms Lau said it was vital the administration provided bills and papers to lawmakers in a timely fashion in the next legislative session, since it would be the last before a new batch of lawmakers was elected. 'If we don't receive bills until March or April, we will be under intense pressure to scrutinise them in time,' she said. In its 2006-2007 session, Legco passed 19 government bills and three tabled by members.