Heung Yee Kuk has too much power in Legco

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 November, 2013, 4:21am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 November, 2013, 4:21am

There is little doubt that Legco member Lau Wong-fat is the most effective and influential politician in Hong Kong.

However, Lau concentrates almost exclusively on his own narrow Heung Yee Kuk constituency, and his attendance and voting record at Legco indicate that he has little interest in the wider issues facing Hong Kong.

He represents only a small minority of the actual residents of the New Territories, but wields disproportionate power to manipulate government actions to their benefit, especially on land policy.

This is often to the detriment of the majority of the overall Hong Kong population ("Lau may get votes to squash park plan" November 13).

Lau is extremely skilful at playing his limited cards, but our bureaucratic officials need to shuffle the deck to stop kowtowing to narrow vested landed interests at the expense of the public interest. In this respect I agree with Tom Yam ("Reports point to Tuen Mun as best location for new incinerator", November 12).

The chairmanship of a Legco committee grants considerable influence over the agenda, so it is puzzling how members representing the interests of the urban areas reintroduced Lau into the chair position for the key development panel, when his attention stops at Boundary Street.

Lau insists the incorporation of Sai Wan into country park land would take away indigenous villagers' rights, which includes a right to build small houses on ancestral land.

Lau's motion to revoke the government plan appears to be the first time he has initiated a motion at Legco since 1998, and as usual it seems the Federation of Trade Unions is awaiting instructions from the Chinese liaison office on how it should vote. Being a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference member gives Lau a strong hand. This so-called right is controversial, as denoted by the many letters to these columns. Last month a villager filed a writ at the Court of First Instance to uphold his "right" at Sai Wan.

It would be wise for our legislators to leave this matter to our capable judiciary. The community has much greater confidence in our judges than our legislators and politicians. A legal ruling on this traditional and ancestral "right" is long overdue.

It is therefore somewhat alarming to hear that mainland legal scholars are again arranging themselves against our judicial independence ("Andrew Li's defence of Basic Law 'an error'", November 15).

P. C. Law, Quarry Bay