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The Motion Concerning the Method for Selecting the Chief Executive in 2017 was vetoed by the Legislative Council today (June 18). The Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA) expresses deep disappointment and profound regret with this development.
The Central Government’s determination to implement universal suffrage in Hong Kong according to the Basic Law is unquestionable. Furthermore, selecting the next Chief Executive in 2017 through “one man, one vote” is an objective that many Hong Kong people aspire to. The BPA have expressed unequivocal support to the Political Reform Plan (“the Plan”) as proposed by the Hong Kong SAR Government, and have done its utmost to facilitate its passage. However, such efforts were ultimately frustrated by 27 pan-democratic councillors and Dr. Leung Ka-lau from the medical constituency, who turned their collective backs on popular demand by preventing the Plan from achieving the required two-thirds majority in the Legislature for its adoption.
It is widely appreciated among pro-reform legislators that the voting exercise was of paramount importance as far as the Plan was concerned and, as such, there was a conscious undertaking to make each and every vote count. Given the foregoing, there was consensus on the day that every effort would be made to ensure that Mr. Lau Wong-fat, BPA Honorary Chairman, would also be present to cast his vote as he was still making his way to the meeting at the time. Mr Lau, who is a firm supporter of political reform, had expressed keen interest in voting in favour of the Plan. However, in an unfortunate turn of events that was largely attributable to a communication mishap among the pro-reform councillors, most were eventually unable to cast their votes on this momentous occasion.
In connection with this disappointing development, the BPA would like to extend its deepest and most profuse apologies to our fellow citizens, and to express our deepest regrets for the misjudgements made in the course of the voting process.
“The pro-reform councillors have always been united. This is best illustrated by Uncle Fat (Mr. Lau), who despite feeling unwell at the time, nevertheless took it upon himself to join the meeting at the Legislative Council. Unfortunately, he was caught up in heavy traffic while trying to get to the meeting. Fellow councillors had hoped that Uncle Fat would be able to make it in time before the votes were casted. By leaving the Chamber en masse we attempted to trigger a quorum call thereby delaying the vote. However, the abruptness of such developments led to communication miscues, which in turn gave rise to the regrettable outcome we have today,” said Mr Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, BPA Vice Chairman and a member of the Executive Council.
The above developments notwithstanding, the Plan would still have been voted down should all 42 pro-establishment councillors, including the Legislative Council’s President, had cast their votes in favour of the Plan. By pressing the “No” button, pan-democratic councillors have snuffed out the opportunity for Hong Kong to set a course for universal suffrage and crushed the hopes of 5 million eligible voters to elect the Chief Executive through a “one man, one vote” process in 2017.
Mr. Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, BPA Chairman, believes the Central Government would continue to support Hong Kong. However, it is incumbent on the city to free itself of the current political malaise and focus on consolidating its strengths through leveraging on new economic opportunities that are associated with such national development initiatives as the “One Belt, One Road” strategy.
Following the voting down of the Political Reform Package, the BPA urges all sectors of the community to set aside their differences and concentrate our energies on implementing concrete measures that are vital to promoting economic development and improving people’s livelihood. The pan-democrats should refrain from further filibustering in the Legislative Council so that such measures can proceed as planned.