Unity needed so we can deal with pressing livelihood issues

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 June, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 June, 2015, 12:01am

The Hong Kong Civic Association considers it a matter of much regret that the government's political reform proposal for the chief executive to be elected by universal suffrage, one person one vote, in 2017, was voted down by the 27 pan-democratic lawmakers and the medical functional constituency member, in the Legislative Council, on June 18.

Even if the 31 pro-establishment lawmakers who walked out of the chamber had not done so and had voted, the proposal would not have got the required two-thirds majority to enable it to be passed by Legco.

Why did all this happen? First, the pan-democratic camp claimed the government's political proposals were "fake democracy" as they were concerned their candidate (or candidates) could be filtered out by the nominating committee process from becoming an official election candidate.

Second, ever since 1997 to the present, there has not been regular and satisfactory communication, or mutual trust, between the pan-democratic camp and the central government.

Our association believes mutual trust in particular will have to be a critical element to be developed in reviving further negotiations on future constitutional changes.

So like it or not, Hong Kong's chief executive election in 2017 will have to follow the existing 1,200 election committee system.

We also believe it is in the best interests of our city and community to support the chief executive's call for all parties to cast aside political differences. They need to focus on renewed efforts to solve our people's livelihood issues and promote more economic development for future prosperity.

Livelihood issues include building more affordable homes for families in need, creating more quality education and job opportunities for our younger generation, better health care for those who are ill, expanded care services for the elderly, an improved Mandatory Provident Fund system and a practicable retirement protection scheme for all who need it.

To afford all this, our citizens will have to keep on striving for Hong Kong to be more competitive and economically viable as China's pre-eminent international city that is governed under the Basic Law and the "one country, two systems" principle.

Our association urges all members of the public to avoid political squabbling and give priority to supporting the chief executive and his government to move forward in this pragmatic direction.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, president, Frederick Lynn, chairman, Hong Kong Civic Association