Chief executive again denies problem between executive and legislature

CY again denies conflict while house committee chairman says relations between executive and the legislature are at 'lowest point ever'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 4:12am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 8:42am

For the second time in six days, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has dismissed any suggestion of a problem between the executive and the legislature - prompting the Legislative Council chief to suggest Leung could be oversimplifying the matter.

The Legco house committee chairman also weighed into the debate, saying that the ties between lawmakers and the executive branch had descended to "the lowest point ever", with both sides now appearing more "ready for a fight" than for cooperation.

"There is no problem between the executive and legislative branches," Leung said before yesterday's Executive Committee meeting.

"But there's a problem within Legco - which is that several lawmakers have repeatedly used filibustering to stop other lawmakers from scrutinising, approving or vetoing the government's proposals and motions."

He was referring to radical pan-democrats' threat to stage more filibusters if the government refused to remove funding applications for its controversial waste infrastructure plans.

But Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said that if the chief executive saw the problem as lying only with a minority of three to four lawmakers, "I think this is seeing the problem in a simple manner".

"[Last Thursday,] all the pan-democrat lawmakers stood up and walked out in protest against the chief executive," he said. "I don't think the public would accept that as a normal executive-legislative relationship."

During that session, Leung urged lawmakers to think about why Legco's work could be manipulated by radicals to "hijack" the city's development.

Tsang later told reporters that Leung should reflect on how to serve Hongkongers better.

Yesterday, House Committee chairman Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said that during the current legislative session there had not only been no improvement in relations but "it has reached a stage where [both sides] appear to be ready for a fight".

"There's no doubt that the executive branch should work with the Legco, and … not just to get the pro-establishment camp's votes," he said.

"There should be communication with the pan-democrats to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings as soon as possible."

Committee vice-chairman Ronny Tong Ka-wah said there were many countries where the administration did not have a majority in the parliament and often resorted to "backroom politics" in an effort to iron out differences behind closed doors.

"But it would appear C. Y. Leung doesn't know how to do this," he said.

Legco's Finance Committee is considering holding an extra eight-hour meeting on Saturday to ease a backlog of more than 40 government funding requests before the legislature shuts down for the summer recess.

The meeting would consist of four more sessions to be held the day after its last scheduled meeting.

Those proposals include cash for the reconstruction of Queen Mary Hospital.