Regina Ip is the right choice to steer Hong Kong’s comeback as Exco convenor
- Given her qualifications in the political arena and personal experience in overcoming setbacks, she is more than capable of shaping the terrain of Hong Kong’s political landscape
This city has gone through some tough years. Ip is a great choice to take on a bigger role in steering this city in our ultimate comeback.
If we look at Ip’s career – one that spans the career she built in government, her rise through the ranks of the civil service, the role she took on as one of the early principal officials under the political accountability system beginning in 2002, her resigning as the first female security minister in 2003, her comeback as an elected lawmaker in 2008 and her founding of a political party – there is no question of her qualifications. If anything, she is overqualified, and, hopefully, perfect for the new post.
In short, if Hong Kong needs someone to lead its reinvention, Ip is the obvious choice. It would be best to start with the Executive Council first.
Bound by confidentiality and collective accountability, Exco has, for the most part, been very low-key while working hard in playing its crucial role in helping the chief executive formulate policies quietly and behind the curtain of power.
As required in the Basic Law, the chief executive is required to consult the council before making important policy decisions, introducing bills to the Legislative Council, making subordinate legislation or dissolving the legislature. The chief executive also must obtain the support of the majority of Executive Council, and the chief executive is required to provide an explanation should they go against the decision of Exco.
While the business of the Legislative Council is conducted mostly in a fishbowl, the bulk of the Executive Council’s work is done away from the public eye and without public scrutiny.
The public impression of secrecy that is associated with the highest levels of power has at times put Executive Council members in a tight spot, especially for those who are also Legco members. Their inherent need to support government policies and having taken part in the decision and policymaking process, being openly critical of the administration is a tough balancing act, to say the least.
Let’s not forget that Ip has first-hand experience in widening the political spectrum in the pro-establishment camp, so she is more than capable of shaping the terrain of Hong Kong’s evolving political landscape. Without an opposition in the government, Ip can play an essential role as a bridge between the Legislative and Executive Councils.
Alice Wu is a political consultant and a former associate director of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA