Some barristers seek a vote of no confidence in Rimsky Yuen The Bar Association's annual general meeting tonight is expected to see an unusually high turnout as some members seek an explanation from chairman Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung over his appointment as a Guangdong government adviser. Barristers from the pan-democratic camp - including some former staunch supporters of Mr Yuen - are seeking support for a vote of no confidence in him. He is up for re-election unopposed at the meeting. However, Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, a legislator who once headed the Bar, said there was no time to call a vote of confidence. The Bar announced late on Tuesday that Mr Yuen had been appointed a member of the Guangdong provincial Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Critics said that conflicted with his role as head of the Bar. Members also questioned why the 44-year-old had not disclosed his appointment before nominations for Bar chairman closed on December 26. Mr Yuen, who attended the CPPCC's meeting in Guangdong yesterday, argued in a statement that the assumption that his appointment would destroy the independence or objectiveness of the Bar was incorrect. 'Any member of the CPPCC is entitled to express his or her free views unconstrained by any particular line. Further, my position in the CPPCC will not inhibit me from conducting the affairs of, and speaking out on behalf of, the Bar Association, in accordance with its traditions, values and objectives,' he said. The chairman said his new role would allow him to promote the rule of law on the mainland and enhance constructive dialogue between the Bar and mainland bodies. The other 23 members of the Bar Council voiced unanimous support for Mr Yuen's appointment. However, the Civic Party's Ronny Tong Ka-wah, a former Bar chairman, said he expected the chairman would face a lot of questions, rather than the usual hand clapping, at tonight's meeting. Mr Tong said he would ask Mr Yuen to state clearly when he was aware of his nomination for the post and when he was appointed. 'I am sure that if others had known of this post, we would have nominated an alternative candidate to stand for election, but we have no time now,' he said. Mr Tong said that if discontent mounted, the Bar could convene an extraordinary general meeting at which a confidence motion could be tabled. If the vote went against Mr Yuen it would be difficult for him to stay on as chairman, Mr Tong said. Another barrister said Mr Yuen was the first Bar chairman to accept such a political appointment. 'People like Martin Lee and Ronny Tong are irate because they had gathered lots of votes for Rimsky during his heated race with Clive Grossman for the chairmanship a year ago. But throughout the year, he rarely spoke out on constitutional issues and now he takes up this post in the CPPCC without consulting them,' he said. The critics wondered where Mr Yuen would stand if the government were to introduce controversial security legislation or the NPC Standing Committee were to reinterpret the Basic Law. Mr Grossman, who retires today as a vice-chairman of the Bar, said the criticism was total nonsense. 'I am disappointed, frankly, that they have taken a party political view on this. I can't see how that will benefit anybody, certainly not the legal profession. Their political statements are totally unnecessary, unwarranted, and inaccurate,' he said. He also argued that the Bar had always been a staunch defender of human rights. Senior counsel Cheng Huan also voiced his support for the chairman and accused the pan-democrats of being the ones to politicise the Bar. 'Why do they make such a big fuss? Do you think they would still do so if Rimsky was joining the Civic Party?' he said. Barrister and Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Kwong Chi-kin said many of Mr Yuen's predecessors had practised confrontational politics. 'Mr Yuen is doing participatory politics, which is much more constructive,' he said.