Plea for HK political coalition

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 August, 2011, 12:00am


A coalition government, with representatives from major political parties occupying ministerial posts, could be the answer to Hong Kong's flawed political structure, two veteran politicians say.

Allen Lee Peng-fei (pictured), who served on the Executive Council and legislature before the handover and is now a political commentator, said: 'If the flaws in our political system are not fixed, whoever becomes the next chief executive is bound to fail.'

He said he and former Exco convenor Chung Sze-yuen agreed there was a need for a coalition government that co-opted leaders from government-friendly and pan-democratic parties.

'Those parties joining the government must pledge their support for government initiatives in exchange for a key role in policy formulation,' Lee said.

Currently, representatives of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and the Federation of Trade Unions are given seats in Exco, but some non-official Exco members have raised concern about a lack of input in the early stages of policy formulation.

The threat by some government-friendly legislators to withdraw their support for the budget and the bill to scrap Legco by-elections has forced U-turns by the administration.

Lee suggested appointing as chief secretary Tsang Yok-sing, Legco president and founding chairman of one of the DAB's two precursor parties, and giving the post of secretary for justice to Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, a former chairwoman of the Bar Association.

Former Monetary Authority chief Joseph Yam Chi-kwong was an ideal candidate for financial secretary because he commanded respect from the financial services sector in Hong Kong and abroad, Lee said.

'Sir S.Y. [Chung Sze-yuen] agreed with my idea for the candidates for those three top posts,' Lee said. 'He notes that even the Conservative Party, which won 306 out of 650 seats in the British Parliament last year, had to enter a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.

'How can the Hong Kong government, which has virtually no vote in Legco, rule effectively without forming a coalition with major parties?'

Lee said Cheung Man-kwong, the Democratic Party lawmaker representing the education sector, was an ideal candidate for education secretary. Miriam Lau Kin-yee, Liberal Party chairwoman and legislator for the transport sector, was qualified for the job of transport minister.

Lee said he raised the idea last month with mainland officials who had links to the top leadership. 'They didn't dismiss our proposal right away. I believe they will convey the ideas in their reports to senior mainland leaders,' he said. He admitted it would not be easy to persuade the central government to endorse their proposal. 'But Beijing must recognise that maintaining the status quo will only lead to a dead end.'

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun described the proposal as idealistic. 'But given the central government's dramatic U-turn on Hong Kong's political reform last year, I won't say the idea is not workable,' he said.