Letters to the Editor, November 10, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 November, 2016, 5:27pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 November, 2016, 5:27pm

HKEX adheres to international standards

I refer to Shirley Yam’s column (“What precedent does HK stock exchange’s waiver set?” October 29).

The waiver cited in the ­column did not set a precedent because it was in line with the principles of the Hong Kong stock exchange’s listing rules and established listing decisions. And there are good grounds for the relevant rules and listing decisions.

A company secretary plays an important role in management and has major responsibilities in supporting the board. It is a senior position in a public company so he/she needs to have good knowledge of the company’s day-to-day affairs, as well as the rules and regulations it must comply with.

The rules and established listing decisions allow listed companies to appoint a company secretary who best fits their needs and meets experience requirements.

Many Hong Kong-listed companies have businesses or operations ­outside the city and their boards manage business portfolios that span multiple jurisdictions. The stock exchange would be too narrowly focused if it only ­allowed the appointment of a company secretary with Hong Kong academic or professional qualifications.

Rule 3.28 of the stock ­exchange’s main board listing rules says a listed company must appoint as its company secretary an individual who, by virtue of his academic or professional qualifications or relevant experience, is, in the opinion of the ­exchange, capable of discharging the functions of company secretary. Note 1 of rule 3.28 sets out the Hong Kong ­quali­fications accepted by the stock exchange.

Note 2 of the same rule says that when assessing relevant experience, the exchange will consider the individual’s length of employment with the issuer and other issuers, and both ­current and past roles with ­issuers; familiarity with the rules and other relevant laws and regu­lations; relevant training taken and/or to be taken in addition to the minimum requirement under the rules; and, professional qualifications in other jurisdictions. Each case will be considered separately with ­regard to all relevant facts and circumstances. This rule was supported by respondents to a market consultation in 2010 and applies to all Hong Kong-listed companies.

Hong Kong has an international stock market. Our rules cater to this perspective while maintaining high standards.

Lorraine Chan, head of corporate communications, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited

Universal suffrage offers genuine choice

I agree with your correspondent K. Y. Leung (“Why genuine ­democracy is the best option”, November 8).

In a parliamentary demo­cracy, the elected head of govern­ment is answerable to the legislature and the public.

When, as your correspondent puts it, the cream turns sour and voters become disillusioned with that government, they can vote it out of power.

Hong Kong needs to have a system of universal suffrage, so that citizens have the ­true ­democracy they want.

This allows a genuine choice and we can vote for a candidate we really want to be leader. The ­outcome of such an election will be easier for people to accept than the present system.

Beatrice Chan, Yuen Long

Localist pair should admit their fault

I was disappointed by the behaviour of the two young lawmakers, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, who insulted China when taking the oath in the Legislative Council. And I think many of the people who voted for them and trusted them also feel let down.

I understand them not ­wanting to pledge allegiance to the central government, but they went too far by insulting the nation.

I don’t agree with those who said they deserved a second chance to take the oath, because I believe they would have ­behaved in the same way. So we would have seen more social disruption.

As they never actually sat in meetings or performed their roles as lawmakers, they do not deserve salaries and ­associated benefits. And this is taxpayers’ money we are talking about.

If they continued as lawmakers and were paid these ­salaries, then I think many ­taxpayers would find that situation objectionable.

I hope that they will reflect on their behaviour during their brief time in Legco and, for the sake of Hong Kong, will come to ­recognise the error of their ways and admit they were at fault in what they did.

Leung Yi-ling, Sha Tin

NPC decision on oath-taking was inevitable

I trust that Benny Tai Yiu-ting, associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, is now reflecting on his role in the ideas and events which led to the ­National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s interpretation of the Basic Law on ­November 7, which related to oath-taking.

Mr Tai’s proposal to “Occupy Central with Love and Peace” in 2013 opened a Pandora’s box. It encouraged some young people in Hong Kong to take to the streets in 2014, in the so-called Occupy movement, over which Mr Tai had no control, it having been taken over by others.

Then, not unreasonably, having failed to get what they wanted through the Occupy movement, these groups of young ­radicals tried to continue the pursuit of their aims through membership of the Legislative Council.

However, some of them, ­because of their immaturity, and stupidity in their oath-taking, have now been denied membership of Legco as a result of the Standing Committee’s decision. And precedents will have been set by the decision, which could well include ­interpretation of other parts of the Basic Law, including Article 23. But the Standing Committee’s decision on oath-taking, while unfortunate for Hong Kong, was inevitable. Hong Kong is part of China, and China will not allow anything which tries to change this.

Independence is just not possible for Hong Kong and this must be accepted here. Otherwise we may face a loss of our special administrative ­region status with, for example, our own laws, even before 2047, and be fully integrated into China.

So, what next, now, for the so-called localists and pan-democrats in Hong Kong?

I do hope they will grow up, see sense and accept the Standing Committee’s decision, albeit reluctantly, and allow Hong Kong to return to normal and start working ­together with others in Hong Kong to enable the city to ­recover and surge ahead.

A start should be made in the Legco chamber, with Legco ­operating normally again, without such actions as filibustering, calls for quorums and throwing of missiles.

John Shannon, Mid-Levels

Trump voters may live to regret folly

The economically threatened voters who engineered Donald Trump’s triumph fail to see the folly of their aspirations to “make America great again”.

They forget that Trump ­belongs to the super-rich 1 per cent of Americans that they ­evidently resent. As Trump is a property ­tycoon bankrolled by a family inheritance, I doubt he would possess any meaningful empathy for most of the ­ordinary ­Americans who have adopted him to protect them from the world’s assaults and uncertainties.

Are his constituents hoping he will allow them a whiff of the hundreds of millions he has ­secreted away? That seems optimistic when he has been avoiding paying the tax that helps fund their social security payments.

Joseph Ting, Brisbane, Australia