Campaign to push out elections chief Fung fast gaining ground

Top News | Michael Shum 29 Sep 2021

Calls for Electoral Affairs Commission chairman Barnabas Fung Wah to be replaced has snowballed, with lawmaker Holden Chow Ho-ding suggesting the post go to someone with extensive administrative experience.

Chow's comments came after the Election Committee polls on September 19 took 14 hours to count 4,380 ballots.

Speaking on a radio program yesterday, Chow, chairman of the Legislative Council's panel on constitutional affairs, said the head of the commission does necessarily need to be a judge - Fung's profession.

The government can consider finding someone with extensive experience in administrative work, said the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker.

"Everyone understands we have to find someone credible to organize an election, to ensure it to be just and fair, but must it be a judge?" Chow said.

"The EAC, responsible for organizing the whole election, requires a lot of administrative experience, which is complicated. Should it be a person with more administrative experience to handle the elections and not necessarily a judge?"

Fung, 61, has been EAC chairman for 12 years since he was appointed in 2009.

Chow is the latest legislator to call for Fung's head after the September 19 vote counting took "unreasonably long."

On Monday, New People's Party chair Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said at a Legco meeting that judges live above the clouds and are unsuitable for an administrative position.

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang Kwok-wai said he will pass her comments to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

On the same radio program, Chow threw his weight behind the government reviewing the records of electoral staff who will be helping with the Legco elections scheduled on December 19.

Those with problematic backgrounds, should not be hired in the future, he added.

Chow called on the government to be better prepared for the Legco elections.

"The government should start relevant rehearsals and drills for the Legco elections as well as the training of some 30,000 staff, as the complexity and scale of the Legco elections are massive compared to the Election Committee elections," he said.

On the possibility of setting up polling stations at border control points to allow Hongkongers living in the mainland to vote, Chow said it will be easier to tackle legal problems if the polling station is within Hong Kong's jurisdiction.

But the government should push for relaxing quarantine requirements for Hongkongers returning to the mainland after they vote, he added.

michael.shum@singtaonewscorp.com



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