Reform Legco to foster Hong Kong people's trust in political process

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 August, 2015, 4:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 August, 2015, 4:12pm

Adversarial politics has plagued Hong Kong for the past few years, with the two opposing camps getting ever more polarised. A by-product of this is a deep mistrust towards the government. Hong Kong needs, urgently, a new political settlement.

Filibustering is not a crime, because the lawmakers involved represent a segment of society. Yet, the time that it wastes could be better spent. Rules on filibustering should be modelled on the rules of the US Senate, which allow a filibuster without the need for lengthy speeches, as long as a bill fails to get supermajority support in the Senate. Then, the government will either be forced to compromise or withdraw controversial bills altogether to make way for more acceptable bills.

By making sure bills have bipartisan support, Hong Kong society can heal and become more cohesive, rather than remain divided on issues such as constitutional reform or the establishment of a technology bureau.

Trust for the government has been low and will be hard to restore on its own. A way to restore trust for is to reinforce the constitutional principle of "separation of powers". Members of the Legislative Council should not serve in the Executive Council to avoid being seen as "puppets", and the legislature should exercise its right of oversight and scrutiny more.

Pro-establishment members need to stop aligning with the government and have their own political stances, like government backbenchers in the British House of Commons.

Projects like the third runway development can benefit the city, but the government can persuade the public of that only if there is trust between the people and the government, which can be built with a strong, independent legislature.

Let us be honest with ourselves: Hong Kong's political structure is broken. It needs fixing right away or, even with universal suffrage, nothing will change for the better.

Herman Lam, Kowloon Tong