Hong Kong a challenge to govern, even for the most able, Jasper Tsang says

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 June, 2013, 5:07am

Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing has weighed into a debate over ministerial competence, saying "even the most capable person would find it hard to do their job" in the current political climate.

He would not comment on ministers' performances, but said if some were underperforming, "it's a problem with the system - and if we don't change it, we can't solve the problems".

Tsang spoke a day after executive councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said some ministers were not professional enough. That comment drew a swift defence from Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

Leung said it would be more positive to give his administration time and space to deliver on pledges, while Lam said the ministers were united in helping him introduce new policies.

She dismissed speculation, by former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang, that she might consider quitting if "Leung continues to neglect her".

Yesterday, Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man also weighed in, saying he did not think any of his colleagues were disillusioned about their work.

Speaking separately, Tsang suggested that a political overhaul could be needed, as "there is no positive and effective operating system between the executive and legislative branches".

"When the chief executive picks his team, [they] don't build a common political vision together, and it's not based on an open process," he said.

He also played down a debate over when a public consultation on universal suffrage would start. "It's not important - if big differences among us remain … a consultation will only turn into a fruitless argument," he said. "The most important thing is for all parties to start discussions."

Meanwhile, Chinese University's Dr Chan Kin-man, an organiser of the Occupy Central democracy movement, warned that without reform, the younger generation would become more impatient and radical.