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PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 December, 2012, 1:58am

Is Leung fit to lead? That's the only question really answered by Legco grilling

Albert Cheng wonders how the people of Hong Kong can believe anything the chief executive says, now that his integrity lies in tatters

BIO

Ir. Albert Cheng is the founder of Digital Broadcasting Corporation Hong Kong Limited, a current affairs commentator and columnist. He was formerly a direct elected Hong Kong SAR Legislative Councillor. Mr Cheng was voted by Time Magazine in 1997 as one of "the 25 most influential people in new Hong Kong" and selected by Business Week in 1998 as one of "the 50 stars of Asia".  
 

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had previously denied any wrongdoing over claims about illegal structures at his homes. But in the end, he still had to admit that it was his fault.

It seems clear that Leung was forced to attend the question-and-answer session in the Legislative Council on Monday. He was most likely coerced by his cabinet - that is, executive councillors and top officials. He might also have been nudged by the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong.

His body language at the hearing was outwardly defensive, showing his reluctance to face the grilling by lawmakers. It was painfully obvious that his answers were scripted; he was well prepared and well rehearsed for the 90-minute session. But no matter how he answered, it all sounded the same and could be summed up with one word - negligence. He apologised numerous times and admitted his negligence again and again.

As a Chinese saying goes, "The fox will eventually show its tail", which means it will ultimately show its true colours and intentions. Leung, it seems, will continue to choose to lie instead of telling the truth. And without integrity, how can we believe anything he says from now on?

The question is, do Hong Kong people have to accept such a person as their leader? The answer is a definite no.

Hongkongers will not tolerate him any more. The central government shouldn't support a person with no integrity to lead Hong Kong. Allowing him to stay will do us no good and will only create more stumbling blocks in the implementation of government policies in the future.

At Monday's Legco session, 11 pro-establishment and 11 democratic lawmakers put many questions to Leung. All the democrats were understandably hostile and took the opportunity to grill him. Even pro-government lawmakers were aggressive and unsympathetic, with the exception of Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, Ann Chiang Lai-wan and "yes man" Chan Kin-por, who tried to defend the chief executive.

During Wednesday's debate on a motion of no confidence, sparked by the controversies, the Civic Party's Alan Leong Kah-kit summed it up perfectly by saying: "Leung has been betrayed and deserted by his followers" and "he gets what he deserves."

Meanwhile, Liberal Party lawmaker James Tien Pei-chun showed his true colours by abstaining from voting, saying the party had decided to give Leung a chance.

Many questions remain unanswered, issues are unresolved. First, Leung said that, following legal advice, he could not comment on the illegal structures at his home during the judicial review of his election victory. This was wrong. Then he said he never knew there were illegal structures at his home on The Peak. That's very hard to believe; as a professional surveyor, surely there's no way he failed to notice the illegal structures.

Furthermore, he tried to blame the media, saying he had invited reporters to his home on numerous occasions. If he knew there were illegal structures, he wouldn't have done so. He also said even the reporters had failed to notice these structures.

Another suspicious point was that he sealed an unauthorised storage space with a wall in November last year, the same month he declared his candidacy.

It was most ridiculous to see Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po make excuses for Leung by telling Legco that the construction of that wall didn't need permission from the Buildings Department. If the wall didn't need a permit, what about the unauthorised storage space behind it?

That explains why Leung has been so protective towards Chan despite all the scandal surrounding him.

Some questions that still need to be answered include: who are the professionals Leung hired to look into the illegal structures case and what are their conclusions? Do they really exist?

What role did Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Director of Buildings Au Choi-kai play in the whole controversy? They battered Henry Tang Ying-yen, Leung's election rival, when he was found to have illegal structures at his Kowloon Tong mansion. So, why would they spare their boss when illegal construction work was discovered at his home?

Also, when Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, who headed the office of the chief executive-elect, accompanied buildings inspectors to Leung's home to assess the illegal structures, what role did she play at that point? Did she exert pressure on the inspectors to influence the outcome?

Hongkongers have lost patience with Leung and his governing team, and don't trust them any more. This mistrust has even extended to the executive branch of government. If Leung is not fit to govern, he should step down.

Albert Cheng King-hon is a political commentator. taipan@albertcheng.hk

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11

This article is now closed to comments

the sun also rises
Surely,there are many talents in town,including the political sector.Without C.Y.leung to lead us, there are still Mr.Jasper Tsang yok-shing, Mrs Yip Lau Suk-yee , Mrs Fan Tsui Lei-tai and Mrs.Cha Sze Mei-lun, Ms Wu Hung-yuk or Mr.Chan Tze-sze and others as well. Without this old guy whose integrity is broke, Hong Kong can go forwards more smoothly and will no longer lingers on illegal structures as the new leader doesn't have this problem,he/she can go on to demolish those illegal structures in the New Territories and the urban area as well. Right ?
mercedes2233
If you have political enemies, any one named above would have past misdeeds brought up, regardless of whether it was committed 30 years ago or last month. And who wouldn't have misdeeds, and interpretations of the misdeeds. Fancy a head of government brought down by walls and flower trellis in his home, installed at a time when illegal structures were the norm, and for which he had apologised, and grovelled, and tried to put right. And the Legco members who are poised to throw stones, how many of them are lily white themselves?
Camel
No, the question is not whether CY Leung is fit to lead. The question is, is there any better one than Leung for leading the City. And the answer is NO. So Mr. Albert Cheng, even you personally do not like CY because of your own reasons, because he beat your very old friend Henry Tang and your agenda, you have to swallow it. There is no better alternatve personality to take CY place. Even you are not.
Byebye
Please, SCMP Editor in-Chief, I appeal to you not to publish such articles by Mr Albert Cheng, who obviously by his past articles and present article revealed that all are for his own agenda or for those who were behind him. Compare the CEO's so called illegal structures to Mr Henry Tang's basement, there are vast differences. From what were revealed on the CEO's extra building works in his home, in fact, no approval actually is necessary because they were not structures that affect the house or the neighbors' or the environment. I am sure many house owners have had their houses or apartments altered, like adding a partition to make an extra room, like in the case of the CEO's. On the other hand, soil has to be removed from the house and a big space was created to make what was revealed by the Press on Mr Tang's house. . If Hong kong cannot see the facts of the truth on the renovation works, perhaps an independent body to be outsourced to assess them. At the moment many Hong Kong people are in an emotional stage because of the frustrations of many important unresolved issues like the vast difference between the rich and the poor, the unaffordable housing, the high rent, the education issues, some urgent issues with China, the unwelcome pregnant women from China etc..etc.. Come on, lets be more reasonable, see the truth and lets make Hong Kong better, the best in Asia. Don't let the wrong people take advantage of our emotion.
Will.I.Am
Cheng, it's becoming a personal quest of yours to write nothing but Leung. I basically stopped reading your article months ago other than the heading.
chaz_hen
And yet you're compelled to comment. Surely you read it...
anson
PDB1688 agreed, but since when did they have an intellectual ability requirement to serve in LEGCO? CY still needs to deal with this thing. A simple apology to Henry 'Smiler' Tang (always reminds me of 'Tim, Nice but Dim'), to the public and off on holiday for a while.
John Adams
Albert : You may be right in principle, but would you pass over the baton to anyone else right now to run HK?
I am sure your answer - and also the answer of 99% of HK is is NO!
Fact is : we do not have any single leader to take us through the next 5 years except CY, and he is brave enough to ride through this total BS - UBW-silly side matter
Would you pass over the baton to Henry Tang (idiot /tycoon-stooge that he is ) or to Long Hair !? Or to double-malleable -faced Albert Ho ?

None of these have the slightest inkling of how to run HK
PLEASE : give CY some leeway to get things done : clean air, property prices, whatever
@The Pro-Dems : you are totally idiotic to oppose CY because he is trying to implement the Pro-dems' own self-same policies for the common good albeit in his own way
Can't you see this ? If not you obviously do not have the intellectual ability ( = IQ) t even be part of LEGCO
GET DOWN OFF YOUR HOBBY HORSE AND START TO THINK !
Dai Muff
"would you pass over the baton to anyone else right now to run HK" Almost anyone else. But yes, there are better choices available, and I'm not necessarily referring to pan-Democrats.
By installing a leader HK people do not trust, Beijing undermines its own interests and those of HK.
anson
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Beijing installed CY because the opinion polls supported him. As to other potential leaders, they need to step forward. Yes if there was a visible alternative then I'd agree with you. I'd like to support the democrats, but the current crop are just too much.

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