Speech – Facing up to the aspirations of the people participating in the march on 1 July (Christopher Cheung)

Deputy President, on Monday 1 July, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets under Typhoon Signal No. 3. They braved the gusty wind and battering rain only to express their opinions about the performance of Chief Executive LEUNG Chun-ying in various aspects in the past year since he took office and voice their aspirations. I believe the SAR Government must listen and respond to different aspirations. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people showed up at the ceremonies held in different districts of Hong Kong and Kowloon to celebrate the 16th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR. I believe these people, like the silent majority in Hong Kong, hope that Hong Kong would remain prosperous and stable with sustainable development. They do not want to see Hong Kong become chaotic or make no progress.

Undeniably, in the past year, in discharging his manifesto of leading “an appropriately proactive government which seeks changes whilst maintaining overall stability”, Chief Executive LEUNG Chun-ying has fallen short of people’s expectation. For instance, regarding the high property prices, the series of counter-measures launched by the Government failed to significantly cool down the property market. It is not surprising that people doubt whether the Government has launched appropriate measures to curb the red-hot property market.

In fact, according to a poll conducted earlier, with 100 as the full mark and 50 the passing mark, the Chief Executive only scored a passing mark in two of his seven policy portfolios, namely “medical and healthcare” and “people’s livelihood” with 54.7 and 50.3 respectively. He failed in all other portfolios. The policy areas with a score of about 40 marks were, in descending order, “economic development”, “environmental protection”, “housing and planning”, “constitutional system and administration” and “education”. I believe this report card is hardly satisfactory and it definitely leaves no room for the Chief Executive to be complacent. He must make substantial improvement. In particular, the Chief Executive should adopt effective measures to sustainably develop Hong Kong’s economy, enhance our competitiveness and improve people’s livelihood, so as to ease the livelihood pressure of the grassroots and the middle-class.

I think the ratings above are fair and the Chief Executive should reflect on the ratings. The result also shows that Dr CHUNG at least agrees that LEUNG Chun-ying should be given more time to make improvement and strive to win the trust and respect of the people.

Certainly, I also notice that many people have high expectation on how the Government will achieve the ultimate goal of universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law as well as the requirements and decisions made by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. However, I absolutely cannot accept people encouraging the use of radical means, such as the “Occupy Central” movement, to coerce the SAR Government to take in all their propositions. Hong Kong is an international financial centre and a metropolis. If anything goes wrong or anything happens to Central, which is our financial centre, the consequence can be serious. Moreover, indefinitely occupying Central will add an element of instability to society, which will scare off international investors and society as a whole will then have to pay a dear price. Don’t tell me that we have to sacrifice our present prosperity and stability  just because we have to hammer out the details of the universal suffrage. Will Hong Kong suffers before any benefit is gained?

Given that the details of the constitutional reform are of utmost importance, it is understandable that the Government needs more time for preparation. Nevertheless, I hope the SAR Government can strive to forge a consensus on and minimize differences over the consultation document later, so as to prevent division and internal conflicts in society. Hence, it is desirable for people from different sectors of society to start exploring and discussing some options in a peaceful and sensible manner before the consultation on the constitutional reform formally starts, and this should warrant our support.

Deputy President, as a Member, I should sincerely listen to different opinions of the people. However, I cannot agree with a small group of people who have taken advantage of the situation and asked Chief Executive LEUNG Chun-ying to step down. They have created conflicts and instability in society which will deal a blow to the authority and credibility of his governance.

Deputy Chairman, I so submit.


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