CY Leung policy address 2014

Lawmakers question lack of political reform measures in Leung's speech

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 January, 2014, 4:15am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 January, 2014, 10:29am

Yesterday's question-and-answer session in the Legislative Council showed that, for some lawmakers, what Leung Chun-ying didn't say in his policy speech on Wednesday was just as important as what he did.

Top of their list of subjects under-represented in the chief executive's speech was political reform.

Independent pan-democrat Wong Yuk-man questioned Leung's sincerity in trying to tackle reform, as evidenced by his having devoted "only 126 Chinese characters" to the topic in his second policy address.

"Leung Chun-ying, go to hell!" Wong yelled, before Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing ordered him removed from the chamber.

Civic Party lawmaker Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok asked Leung if he would rather be compared with the late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu or Soviet reformist Mikhail Gorbachev.

"You said you wanted to be remembered by history: do you want to learn from Ceausescu, who was denounced and overthrown by the people; or do you want to learn from Gorbachev - listening to the people and pushing forward true democracy?" he asked.

Leung was unimpressed. "Hong Kong, Romania and the Soviet Union faced completely different situations," he said, adding that he planned to press ahead with an electoral overhaul in accordance with the Basic Law.

Pro-government lawmaker Tang Ka-piu said his Federation of Trade Unions could not approve of Leung's address, as he had failed to make good on his election promise to abolish the much-criticised mechanism that allows employers to offset severance and long-service payments to employees against their contributions to an employee's Mandatory Provident Fund.

Tang's federation colleague Chan Yuen-han asked Leung if he had forgotten "our three million wage earners" and had yielded to the business sector. Leung said the absence of labour initiatives in his address did not mean he was not concerned with the workers' plight. "I will handle the issue within this term," he added.

After the meeting Chan said she did not believe Leung has enough time to fulfil such a promise before his term expires in 2017.