Allan Zeman warns of ‘disconnect’ between Hong Kong government and people

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 4:14pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 July, 2014, 2:50am

There is a "disconnect" between the government and the people and the administration needs to be seen to be listening more to public views, former Ocean Park chairman Allan Zeman said yesterday.

Officials had been too "aloof" in the face of public demands, the colourful entrepreneur said.

Zeman was speaking on a Commercial Radio programme in which he also suggested including students and radical lawmakers on any nominating committee for the 2017 chief executive election to make it more acceptable to the public.

He noted the government had said Occupy Central's unofficial referendum - in which nearly 800,000 people voted for proposals that would allow the public to nominate candidates for the 2017 election - had no legal basis.

"There's no point saying it's not legal ... the government has to be seen to be listening," Zeman said. "There seems to be a disconnect between the government and the people."

Zeman also said he was "disturbed" by the actions of independent lawmaker Wong Yuk-man, who threw a glass at Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in the Legislative Council on Thursday. He said Wong's actions were disrespectful, but he criticised the decision by the Chief Executive's Office to call the police.

Faced with the same attack, Zeman said he would have just smiled. "I would make them look bad. That [behaviour] is crazy."

The entrepreneur also expressed concern about Occupy Central. He feared its good intentions in blocking streets to call for democracy could be hijacked.

Occupy is planning a non-violent sit-in if the government fails to deliver an election proposal that guarantees genuine choice.

Zeman's term as chairman of Ocean Park ended in June, when he was replaced by his former deputy, CPPCC member Leo Kung Lin-cheng.

Having previously expressed his anger at being replaced, Zeman said that "someone made a mistake". He is now an honorary adviser. "I said you have to kill me to get rid of me," he joked.