VETERAN legislator Hui Yin-fat is to quit politics, saying the growing dominance of party politics was leaving less room for old-style independents such as himself. But the 58-year-old's retirement from the political scene may be short-lived. Mr Hui, who has represented the social services sector since 1985, yesterday announced that he would not seek re-election next September - but had made no decision about the 1997 elections. He said he would maintain his other public services and was open-minded about any mainland invitation to join the Preliminary Working Committee or the future provisional legislature. Mr Hui said it was time to let new talent take up the job. One of the most senior members in Legislative Council, Mr Hui has been involved in a number of controversies over the past few years. He came under fire from his constituents for supporting the Government's 1992 Budget expenditure proposals, and for refusing to support the Omelco consensus on political development in a motion debate in 1992. In June he was hit by allegations that he had made deals with the Liberal Party or the then-United Democrats to maintain the voting rights of board members of social services agencies. Mr Hui denied he had been frustrated by the attacks. 'If that was the case, I could not have stayed on for so long. Social workers have been attacking me since 1985,' he said. Mr Hui, the director of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, however, agreed that the increasing dominance of party politics was shrinking the room left for independents. He recalled that he had had to beg people to join the Legco social services panel in 1985, but legislators from various political parties were now competing to join because social welfare was about votes. 'People join not only to fight for more resources for social welfare but also for politics,' he said. 'Some questions did not have to be asked [in Legco meetings] if they had read the papers. Yet, they raised the questions, sometimes making the meetings take hours to finish. 'And not only one party member asked the question. Those from the same party took turns to push their case.' He said he had not been in top form for the past few years because he lacked the political wisdom to accommodate the new environment. Legco changed quickly, especially since the introduction of directly elected members, he said. A Hong Kong affairs adviser, Mr Hui said he had not consulted China over his decision. He would still be in Hong Kong in 1997 and would not emigrate before he retired from the council. He revealed that more than three of his advisers and Democrat Law Chi-kwong were interested in his seat, but he denied he quit because he feared he would lose. He hoped his successor would be a social worker and believed his voters wanted a non-partisan Legco representative. On his future plans, he said he would stay in the council and was willing to consider any request, including from the mainland, for advice on social welfare.