Call for Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung to retire for sake of harmony
Panellists at Post forum also urge political reconciliation for city to progress
A new chief executive and reconciliation between opposing camps in the legislature could provide a way out of the political stalemate and a fresh start for Hong Kong, according to panellists on Thursday at the Post’s latest Redefining Hong Kong Debate Series.
Most of the panellists from across the city’s political spectrum suggested or agreed that the road to political rapprochement and true harmony should start with Beijing withholding its blessing for a second term for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, seeing him as a polarising figure.
At the forum, titled “From Occupy to Election: Hong Kong’s political situation and what lies ahead”, Professor Ray Yep Kin-man of City University’s public policy department said the “best-case scenario” for Hong Kong would be to elect a new leader next March.
“This is important because it is a gesture of reconciliation. It is a concession [telling] Hong Kong people let’s start all over again,” Yep said, adding that the city could then at least achieve something in the honeymoon period with the new leader.
Should Leung be elected again, Yep warned, there would be riots and conflict, with the Legislative Council becoming dysfunctional from that day onward.
Alan Leong Kah-kit, former leader of the Civic Party, agreed that the immediate problem to solve “is really to have another chief executive”.
The veteran pan-democrat, who has just retired from the legislature, said: “Personality does count. I have never come across anybody who is better at making enemies than C.Y. Leung.”
Liberal Party honorary chairman James Tien Pei-chun, one of the most outspoken advocates of the ABC – “anyone but CY” – drive, charged that Leung’s incompetence had prompted Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong to “interfere” further in the city’s politics.
Newly-elected pro-establishment lawmaker Holden Chow Ho-ding, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, remained tight-lipped on whether he would back Leung for a second term.
In the chief executive’s defence, he pointed out that the incumbent had made breakthroughs in housing and livelihood issues.
Chow also said he hoped both pan-democratic and pro-establishment camps would engage in dialogue and forge consensus on projects that were less controversial, rather than go back to the filibustering that blocked government plans in past years.
Nathan Law Kwun-chung, the Occupy student activist-turned-lawmaker, said he would make use of his new role not only to exert pressure from outside the establishment but also to work within the system to look for solutions to problems.
Citing the case of Joshua Wong Chi-fung, his party colleague, being detained by Thai authorities and deported from Bangkok on Wednesday, Law said he could now do more than just protesting on the streets.
“Now that I’ve become a legislator and I’ve got a mandate, I can just call ... different government offices,” he said. “It actually works. Joshua was back ... earlier than expected.”
While Law reserved the right to resort to filibustering, former Legco secretary general Pauline Ng Man-wah said such delaying tactics would be rendered ineffective if all members fulfilled their basic duties to simply attend meetings, as that would put an end to quorum calls.