My Take

Let the Legislative Council inquiry into CY Leung’s finances do its work

Opposition attempts to impeach the outgoing chief executive are a waste of their time and ours

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 May, 2017, 1:42am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 May, 2017, 1:42am

Pan-democrats had tried to impeach Leung Chung-ying early in his tenure as chief executive. So perhaps, it’s fitting that they should try to do it again now that his term is coming to an end in slightly more than a month.

For the grandstanding and display of animosity, it’s typical of the opposition. Back at the start of 2013, the pan-dems wanted to impeach Leung over statements he made about illegal structures at his home on The Peak. This time, they are on firmer ground – there needs to be a public accounting of Leung’s non-disclosure of a HK$50 million payment made to him by Australian engineering firm UGL.

Even so, impeachment is as impractical as last time. There simply aren’t enough votes from lawmakers to justify the attempt. Even if they improbably had support from enough government-friendly lawmakers, the proceedings simply wouldn’t move fast enough to kick Leung out before his term of office ends next month.

So all this is just a waste of time, not to mention a distraction from the Legislative Council probe about to be launched. You can’t blame them for trying, though. The farcical attempt by Leung and lawmaker Holden Chow Ho-ding of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong to influence the terms of the Legco probe into the UGL payment has given the pan-dems a perfect opening. Leung has no one to blame but himself – and Chow.

Everything you need to know about Hong Kong leader CY Leung’s HK$50 million UGL deal and more

Still, there is one thing that everyone agrees on, even Leung: the legitimacy of the Legco investigation. Now that Chow has been forced to resign from the investigative committee and other members have all agreed not to disband it, let’s quickly get the probe going. And it can and should look into the Chow/Leung fiasco as well.

Leung has said that he has nothing to hide and that the Legco probe should be as broad and comprehensive as possible. That was the reason, he claimed, for him to help Chow edit the committee document at the centre of the latest row. If the pan-dems drop their impeachment talk now, Leung should stop trying to disqualify committee member Kenneth Leung, whom he is suing for remarks the latter had made about the UGL controversy. There are no Legco rules on conflict of interest to disqualify the pan-democrat lawmaker just because he is being sued. Let the Legco probe do its job.