27 October 2016
Some lawmakers were frequently absent in Legco meetings and often did not participate in voting this year. Photo: HKEJ
Some lawmakers were frequently absent in Legco meetings and often did not participate in voting this year. Photo: HKEJ

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the laziest of them all?

Who among our honorable legislators are worth their keep and who are just wasting taxpayers’ money? 

The watchdog group Catholic Monitors on Legislative Councillors has just released its annual report card to give us an idea of how well – or poorly – our lawmakers are doing their job.

Lau Wong-fat, the King of New Territories, easily won the worst performer award with a “five flaws” rating.

He’s been rated numero uno for absenteeism and no votes, low questioning and speech rates, and having made no motion or bill revision last year.

That’s hardly surprising, though. The 79-year-old legislator has consistently performed that way in his last 20 years of service. In 2015, he was absent in 31 Legco meetings.

Lau’s health has been the subject of media interest, but it seems rather unlikely he would seek another four years next year. 

Dr. Leung Ka-lau from the medical constituency and Labour Party’s Peter Cheung Kwok-che missed 27 and 24 Legco meetings, respectively. In late 2014, Cheung applied for a two-month sick leave over some mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues in his body.

Leung, along with Vincent Fang Kang from the textile sector, is on the list with four flaws, namely high absenteeism and no-vote rate as well as low questioning or speech rates.

They were followed by Ronny Tong Ka-wah and Lam Tai-fai with three flaws each.

The five legislators, representing an entire range of political orientations, should be reprimanded, according to the Catholic Monitors, which has been carrying this detailed research for the past 24 years.

The group’s research also showed that eight legislators should improve their voting rate because they had high absenteeism and abstained from voting quite often.

Again, Lau Wong-fat led the gang with a 70 percent no vote, followed by Dennis Kwok Wing-hang of the Civic Party with 65.7 percent; and James To Kun-sun of the Democratic Party, 60.3 percent.

Pan-democrat Leung Ka-lau of the medical constituency got 59.8 percent; Vincent Fang Kang of the Liberal Party, 54.5 percent; Abraham Shek Lai-him of the Business and Professionals Alliance (BPA), 52.5 percent; Ronny Tong of the Civic Party, 51 percent; Lam Tai-fai (independent), 48.1 percent; James Tien Pei-chun of the Liberal Party, 45 percent; and his brother Michael Tien Puk-sun of the New People’s Party, 45 percent.

Funny enough, Michael Tien, who has been very vocal about issues concerning the high-speed rail system between Hong Kong and Guangdong, only showed up 41 percent of the meetings of the Legco transport panel.

Eleven legislators did not propose or revise any motion this year. They included two from the BPA: Lau Wong-fat, who has never proposed or revised any motion in his entire Legco career, and Christopher Cheung Wah-fung. Three are from the Liberal Party (James Tien, Felix Chung Kwok-bun and Tommy Cheung Yu-yan), two from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (Ben Chan Hang-bun and Tam Yiu-chung), two from the Democratic Party (James To and Albert Ho Chung-yan), Wong Kwok-kin of the Professional Teachers’ Union, and independent lawmaker Lam Tai-fai.

One possible explanation is filibustering – the above-mentioned legislators chose not to overburden their handling capacity.

Accordingly, there was not enough quorum in 303 occasions in 2014/15, leading to two aborted sessions.

People Power representative Raymond Chan Chi-chuen asked for an attendance count 47 times while partymate Albert Chan Wai-yip also asked for a head count 30 times in 170 occasions.

Catholic Monitors proposed that the names of lawmakers be recorded in the official attendance list so that their performance could be better monitored.

– Contact us at [email protected]


Lau Wong-fat (left) and Leung Ka-lau (right) missed many Legco meetings while Vincent Fang (center) often abstained during voting. Photos: HKEJ

EJ Insight writer

EJI Weekly Newsletter