• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 12:39am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 July, 2014, 4:33am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 July, 2014, 6:06am

Hong Kong's Leung Chun-ying should forgo desire for a second chief executive term

BIO

Alex Lo is a senior writer at the South China Morning Post. He writes editorials and the daily “My Take” column on page 2. He also edits the weekly science and technology page in Sunday Morning Post.
 

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying does not strike me as an unintelligent man. So I am scratching my head as to why he still insists there is no real problem between the legislative and executive branches.

It's not just endless filibustering by a few malcontents in Legco, as he has claimed. It is war in all but name between the pan-democrats and the government. As a de facto opposition, they can't implement meaningful policies, but they can sabotage or delay controversial government plans such as new town developments in the New Territories, funding for waste management facilities and the double property stamp duty. There is now a backlog of over 40 items before the Legislative Council's Finance Committee.

Of 29 bills before Legco, only eight have been passed. Pigheaded Treasury Bureau officials are effectively aiding and abetting the pan-dems by refusing to reshuffle the order of the items on the Finance Committee agenda so that uncontroversial items can quickly be put before the committee for approval. Is there a way to break the impasse, which is symptomatic of deep fissures in our society?

One suggestion has been for Leung to resign. Everyone would cheer, but would it solve anything? Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor could step in, doing a repeat of Donald Tsang Yam-kuen when the city's first chief executive Tung Chee-hwa resigned amid crumbling popularity. Or the old election committee could shoe in someone else close to Beijing. Either way, the honeymoon would not last. Our political problems are systemic.

There is a workable halfway for Leung - to announce he would not seek a second term. Instead, he would focus the remaining three years of his term to making sure Hong Kong achieves universal suffrage as prescribed under the Basic Law by 2017. He may thereby regain some political capital with the general public, if not with the pan-dems. He would challenge the pan-dems to sabotage his eminently defensible policies to increase housing supply, bring down property prices and improve social welfare and education. He would also moderate the influx of mainland visitors.

Leung has always said he wanted a second term. But it's time for a strategic retreat, an honourable one for the history books.

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This article is now closed to comments

ann.wei.121
You do not understanding why he insisted there was no real problem ? We have seen it so many times, it is the typical way Chinese "Communist" pointing to a deer and says this is the horse. Read the CCP 's constitution and you will find many many of these examples. In China, they have the rule of law, they have freedom of speech, they have freedom of religion, they have democracy..... they have, they say.....but you don't have a say.
Kailim
Since 1997 Hong Kong has become more free than under the colonial rule. The Special Branch of the police is gone. Nobody is barred from public jobs such as lawmaker. We should treasure what we have.
By the way mainland China has changed a lot. Although the pace of change is slow as viewed by some people including myself. It is certainly not the same mainland we have known before.
Sometimes I think it is not right to model after the USA for democracy. Other than plutocracy I have reservation in their governance. For instance the USA had let the subprime crisis and the credit crunch to go off, whereas Wen Jiabao has tried successfully to contain the property bubble from burst for virtually his entire two terms as prime minister. That makes the US officials looking very incompetent. It derives a question of what we need a government for.
Therefore I support CY Leung and anyone like him to work for us.
Paradox314
Kailim - I agree that the US democracy is not ideal. But the problem is more to do with the overall culture than the particular structure of democratic system in place. But, I believe your intention is to suggest we be less oppositional to Beijing's insistence upon vetting all potential CE candidates. Here I could strenuously disagree, as I beleive do a majority of Hong Kongers.
I think HK ought to develop and even more democratic system than that in use in America or Canada, and use the German system as a model.
Anti communist HKer
Yes, Hong Kong is more free technically, but the freedoms we cherish -- freedom of speech, freedom of the press, independent judges -- are being slowly frittered away. And it seems to have sped up since CY Leung took office.
If we are measuring his administration by our freedom, and the underlying notion that civil servants serve the people they are chosen to govern, then CY Leung has failed, often miserably. I agree with the writer that him stepping down won't do anything -- one Beijing puppet being replaced by another. But let someone else run Hong Kong in 2017.
lamlm38
"But let someone else run Hong Kong in 2017".. like who?
pliu
For the remaining three years, I do agree with you Alex that CY should work with Legco to try and achieve universal suffrage within the Basic Law by 2017. He must try and get the best possible deal from Beijing for all the people of Hong Kong. In addition, he should do all the things that you suggested above and try to introduce new wealth creating industries in HK.
Leung is very unpopular now but if he is successful with implementing the policies above, who knows what will happen in three years time?!!! A week is a long time in politics, a former British Prime Minister once said. He could do a lot in three years if he has his eyes on the ball!
Kailim
It makes no difference. The pan-democrats would keep on bashing and pointing fingers at any government.
The pan-democrats should be well aware of the fact that Beijing would never allow them to becoming the CE of the SAR. Simply because they have tried to intervene in mainland's affairs and to change its political system.
Most of us know perfectly well that the 'one country, two systems' policy has not been catered for and aimed at Hong Kong primarily, but Taiwan. To this end Beijing has prepared to let us have virtually anything politically, but would never allow anyone using Hong Kong as a base to subverting them.
If we could achieve a very democratic governing system and attain high degree of autonomy, that would certainly influence the mainland in future. Therefore the pan-democrats should forego their anti-communist China objective and devote themselves solely to Hong Kong.
I don't want to believe that some foreign countries has been meddling in our affairs for ensuring the 'one country, two systems' a failure so as to keep Taiwan separating from the mainland.
The popular support of the pan-democrats is derived from first of all the fact that most of us are the Mao's era political victims and refugees and their next generations, that's where the anti-communism sentiment comes from. Secondly the public is easily susceptible to negative comments and criticism against gevernment, it is a universal phenomena.
daily
The problems stem beyond just CY..........Legco members should all leave too. They are the biggest joke in HK.
calyth
I'm not sure if he could. But let's leave that aside for a minute.
If he leaves, and everything remains the same, i.e. pro-Beijing executive branch vs pro-Democrat legislature, everything would stay the same. The farce continues.
There's no real way for Beijing to stack the LegCo without a giant uproar, nor would they be stupid enough to do so.
So the only way for HK to get ahead is either give universal suffrage in 2017, which isn't likely to happen given Beijing's obsession with stability, and their demands on basic law and social studies. Or an even unlikelier case would be to appoint someone who's pro-democrat, and see what they would do if they are given the seat of power, and have to make some hard choices that they were more than happy to simply dismiss before.
I'm not holding my breath.
likingming
Maybe no problem for his vision. The problem is with his capability.
Could he be able to govern in light of :
The divisions within the pro-grovernment camp (CY camp, Tang camp), not even bother to care about the pro-democracy groups. And
His daughter ? His partner (Lau Mong Hung), His colleagues (C W Tsang, W K Lam, Y S Tsang).
眾叛親離 !

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