HongKong Opinion

Use privileges carefully

(HK Edition)
Updated: 2011-06-09 06:55
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Use privileges carefully

The panel on information technology and broadcasting of the LegCo held a special meeting on Tuesday about the controversy surrounding former government chief information officer Jeremy Godfrey's accusation that the government played political favoritism in the awarding of a contract for the Internet Learning Support Programme (ILSP) last year.

Godfrey's former boss, Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Communications and Technology) Elizabeth Tse Man-yee, told the LegCo panel that Godfrey's accusation was "fabricated" and he has admitted in an e-mail that he had overreacted. In fact, Godfrey "fabricated" the accusation against the government simply because his request to renew his employment contract with the government had been rejected.

It was an act of personal vengeance aimed at discrediting the government with a groundless accusation. By doing so he not only trampled public servants' code of conduct but also put his own feelings ahead of the public interest. Hong Kong residents will never agree with him on this matter and the LegCo should never allow anyone to use the Legislative Council (Power and Privileges) Ordinance to facilitate personal vengeance.

As a public servant, Godfrey should have conveyed his grievances against his superiors through normal channels instead of putting pressure on the government by way of LegCo and the press by wantonly spreading unsubstantiated allegations designed to discredit the government. As a matter of fact, his accusations against the government have nothing to do with the ILSP selection process and the only purpose of raising this issue is to avenge the rejection of his request to renew his employment contract.

Godfrey also demanded on Tuesday that LegCo invoke the Power and Privileges Ordinance to let him testify at a formal LegCo hearing even though this was just a matter of differences between him and his superiors. It was a labor dispute at best, which had nothing to do with the public interest in this case. The LegCo has absolutely no reason to satisfy his demands.

This is an English translation of excerpts from a Wen Wei Po editorial published on June 8.

(HK Edition 06/09/2011 page3)