Article 23 in Hong Kong: will there ever be a right time for a national security law?
I refer to the article, “No timetable on national security law, Hong Kong leader insists, but officials working to create ‘favourable conditions’” (April 17).
Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor knows quite well that this is not the right time to handle this sensitive issue, and she is frank enough to admit that the Hong Kong SAR has to create an atmosphere that is conducive to proceeding with it.
Even members of the pro-establishment camp have urged or reminded the chief executive that a decision on this controversial piece of legislation should not be dragged on indefinitely.
The question is: how long should we wait for the right environment for this “taboo” legislation to be dealt with? If the wait is indefinite, the city government is expected to face criticism.
The next question is: can the government ever create such an environment? I believe the chief executive and her administration has to overcome three obstacles or “mountains”: housing, scrapping the Mandatory Provident Fund offset mechanism, and issues arising from the management of public housing malls by the Link Reit (real estate investment trust).
At a private gathering two years ago, when she was Hong Kong’s chief secretary, Chief Executive Lam reportedly identified the MPF and Link Reit as contentious issues that needed to be faced, as well as the matter of repeated MTR fare increases.
If the present government can conquer even one of these mountains, opposition to Article 23 legislation may be significantly reduced. But how will the government overcome the remaining mountains?
Lo Wai Kong, Yau Ma Tei