SCMP Friday, June 23, 2000

Tung wants housing chiefs to stay


Updated at 2pm:
Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said on Friday he would try persuade embattled Housing Authority chairwoman Rosanna Wong Yick-ming to stay on even if a no-confidence vote in her was passed.

In a question-and-answer session with the Legislative Council, Mr Tung said although Ms Wong and Director of Housing Tony Miller were responsible for the piling scam that damaged the reputation of top housing policy-makers, their resignations would not solve the problem.

''I agree that they are responsible... but they have taken the initiative to uncover the piling scam and handle it in their capacities,'' he said.

''It's very easy to get them to resign, but the most important thing for us now is to ensure that the problem will not occur again. I hope Ms Wong and Mr Miller will stay on.''

Mr Tung's remarks come just a few days before the council is to decide on a no-confidence vote in the pair.

He said Ms Wong had several times expressed her wish to resign but he had asked her to stay. ''She might resign again as the pressure increases and I'm not sure if I'll be able to convince her to stay... but I'll try my best,'' he said.

As Mr Miller was a civil servant who was not given the position by political appointment, it would be unfair to ask him to resign, Mr Tung said.

He added that if they decided to leave, there would be a political and legal vacuum in the organisation which would not be in the public interest.

He said a review panel would be set up to examine housing policy, as well as the relationship between the HA, the Housing Bureau and the Housing Department.