SCMP Saturday, December 16, 2000

New university head to keep forum role


New Baptist University head Professor Ng Ching-fai will remain as convenor of the conservative political think-tank New Century Forum.
Professor Ng has already said he will resign as a legislator but will retain his role as a deputy to the National People's Congress. He will assume the new post in July, succeeding Daniel Tse Chi-wai.
Solicitor Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, of the New Century Forum, said members, along with Professor Ng, had decided on Thursday that he should stay on as convenor. "We are not a political party," he said. "It's not the case there is any party line to follow. It was decided that we would review the situation if Professor Ng's future workload at university greatly compromised his involvement with the forum."
But Democratic Party legislator Fred Li Wah-ming said candidates in September's Legco election had run under the New Century Forum banner. "How can they say it is just a political think-tank? I have no quarrel with Professor Ng staying as an ordinary member of the forum but he should not remain as the forum convenor.
"It could arouse suspicion as to how much political neutrality he wants to maintain. It's not the case that I have political bias but we all know very well that the forum is a pro-Beijing, conservative political group."
On Thursday, Mr Li was among a handful of university council members who voted against a selection committee's recommendation for Professor Ng's appointment. Sophie Leung Lau Yau-fun, Liberal Party legislator and a member of the university council, also voted against. She declined to comment yesterday.
Professor Ng, who is the university's Dean of Science and chair professor in chemistry, was not available for comment.