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Fake phone caller lands prestigious UBC appointment 0

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver


Kenneth Fung has been appointed to the UBC Board of Governors. Fung was at the centre of a controversy during the May election when he phoned a radio station to bash an NDP candidate under an assumed name. (SCREEN GRAB FROM LINKEDIN)

Kenneth Fung has been appointed to the UBC Board of Governors. Fung was at the centre of a controversy during the May election when he phoned a radio station to bash an NDP candidate under an assumed name. (SCREEN GRAB FROM LINKEDIN)

A man who admitted to calling a radio station under a fake name to bad-mouth an NDP candidate during the May election has been appointed to the University of B.C. board of governors.

Dr. Kenneth Fung was awarded the board position Nov. 27 by order of the lieutenant-governor, but Amrik Virk, minister of advanced education, signed the decision.

Fung is a clinical associate professor at UBC, but more recently he became part of a controversy after calling CKNW during a talk show as a man named Mike.

“I’ve got news for you. Did you know the NDP is running a candidate in Richmond Centre by the name of Frank Huang who can’t really communicate in English?” Fung said to host Sean Leslie during the segment. “Maybe you guys (can) give him a call and do an interview in English and see how good it is.”

The NDP demanded an apology, but Fung maintained the bigger story was Huang’s membership in the Communist Party of China dating back to when he worked for the government in China in the early 1990s.

Huang said he only joined the party as a job requirement and Fung said he used the fake name for fear of reprisal. 

Virk responded through his communications personnel, saying in an email Fung was chosen for his competency and experience.

“Government is committed to ensuring all boards have members with appropriate competencies, geographic representation and gender balance,” Virk said. “Regular appointments to public sector organizations and boards are based on merit.”

But BC NDP advanced education critic David Eby said the appointment was politically motivated.

“I think it’s pretty clear to everybody what’s happening,” Eby said. “Friends of the premier are getting their just rewards for their work in the election.”

Virk did not address the controversy in his email.

Late Wednesday Fung replied via email from a conference in Hong Kong and said his professional qualifications and community work make him a fair choice for the one-year appointment starting in February. 

"My credentials are well qualified for the appointment," he wrote. "I have been the first Chinese Canadian to serve on a Board of Governors of the University of Manitoba and also the first Chinese Canadian to serve on the senate of the University of Manitoba." 

Huang did not respond for a request for comment. 

 

 

 

 

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