C.Y. Leung's Beijing ties create mistrust, says DAB leader
DAB leader says chief executive's relationship with the mainland has become his 'original sin' and he must be sensitive to public perceptions
Leung Chun-ying's close ties with Beijing have become his "original sin", which makes it difficult for him to win the trust of Hongkongers, the head of the city's biggest Beijing-friendly party has acknowledged.
Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, also advised the chief executive against pushing ahead with restructuring the government.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Tam said many Hongkongers suspected Leung was following the orders of the central government and its liaison office in Hong Kong, at the expense of the city's interests.
"Leung is adamant that his actions, such as his visit to the central government's office a day after his election victory in March, were reasonable and legitimate," Tam said. "But given Leung's close relationship with the mainland, those events may have reinforced the suspicion of him among some in Hong Kong."
Leung has been seen as a pro-Beijing heavyweight since he was appointed secretary general of the Basic Law Consultative Committee in 1988. In 1996, he was appointed vice-chairman of the Preparatory Committee that oversaw Hong Kong's handover.
Leung was criticised for allowing Li Gang , deputy director of the liaison office, to play a key role during a visit to Queen Mary Hospital in the wake of the Lamma ferry disaster on October 1. Li spoke for two minutes at the hospital, and was the first public official to confirm deaths. Leung said Li had initiated the visit.
"Li visited the hospital out of goodwill, but some people had a negative perception of what they saw on TV screens," the DAB leader said. "Perhaps Leung may need to pay more attention to public perceptions in future."
But Tam said Hongkongers should appreciate Leung's efforts to impose a ban on mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong from next year, and his stalling of a plan that would have given millions of non-permanent residents of Shenzhen easier access to the city.
Tam agreed that Leung's negligence over illegal structures at his home on The Peak had seriously dented public trust in him.
Meanwhile, the DAB leader saw no need for the Leung administration to relaunch its government restructuring plan - which was foiled by lawmakers' delaying tactics during the Legislative Council's previous term.
"The government's operations have been largely OK, without the new policy bureaus and deputy posts for the chief secretary and financial secretary, in the past few months," Tam said.
He questioned whether it would be wise to stir up another round of controversy in Legco and the community by tabling the restructuring plan in the legislature again.