The kerfuffle over alleged political screening of Legco staff

May 15, 2019 17:22
The Legislative Council’s administrative wing has faced fresh accusations that it is vetting its employees in relation to their political leanings. Photo: Bloomberg

With a security staff member accusing the legislature's secretariat of asking her to take a stance between “yellow” and “blue” on a written form, there are once again questions about the political neutrality of the Legco's administrative wing.

In a bid to look into the matter as soon as possible and to prevent the secretariat from taking further hits, several lawmakers from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) last week urged Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen to bring forward a meeting of the Legislative Council Commission.

There was talk that the meeting was moved from the initially scheduled May 20 to Tuesday, May 14.

However, the meeting failed to materialize yesterday due to lack of quorum as only two pan-dem members agreed to attend, besides representatives from the pro-Beijing camp.

Some in the pro-establishment camp said bringing forward the Commission meeting wouldn’t make much difference, because so far the Legco employee in question, as well as Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho who is handling her case, are yet to provide any concrete evidence to back up their accusations.

They argued that someone else would have broken the silence long ago if the Legco secretariat was really subjecting its 700-plus staffers to enquiries on their political stance.

Nevertheless, Tam appeared to be highly confident that he has a strong case, saying that he does have solid and conclusive evidence to support the accusation, only that he won’t bring any of it to light during the Commission meeting stage.

The reason: he doesn't want the Legco secretariat to have time to prepare corresponding answers in advance and engage in a cover-up of sorts.

Tam said he wouldn’t release his evidence until after Legco has agreed to form an investigation committee to inquiry into the matter.

He added that all it takes for the Legco secretariat to find out whether the security employee in question was telling the truth or not is to quiz her supervisor and the head of the legislature's human resources department of what they learnt about the matter.

As far as the abortive Commission meeting yesterday is concerned, Tam suspects the meeting may have been cancelled for some unknown reasons, and not necessarily because, as the pro-establishment camp had claimed, only two pan-dem lawmakers agreed to attend.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 11

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.