Let's forget reform row and get on with our lives

Updated: 2015-06-25 07:38

By Eddy Li(HK Edition)

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Opposition lawmakers, by vetoing the electoral reform bill last Thursday, have created uncertainties for Hong Kong's democratic development, and deliberately thrown away the people's golden opportunity to choose their next Chief Executive by universal suffrage in 2017.

The 28 negative votes cast have reduced years of hard work by the local community and the huge amount of public resources spent to rubble. This, undoubtedly, is disappointing for all those who have wholeheartedly backed the reform plans.

Despite the setback, we can still learn some lessons from it. Since the illegal "Occupy Central" movement was brought to an end in November last year, the mainstream public opinion has been quite clear - the majority support the government's proposals for selecting the city's next leader by universal suffrage. However, the opposition has violated the most basic principle of democracy - the minority should be subordinate to the majority.

By voting against the reform blueprint, they have willingly put themselves on the wrong side of justice. Such abusive behavior has exposed their despicable plot to sabotage the government's lawful administration by opposing everything the SAR government proposes. So, if the government were to restart the constitutional reform process in future, the general public can instantly recall what the opposition has done this time. The people will be ready to retaliate if they try to rock the boat again.

We don't have to be too disappointed over last week's veto by the opposition. It's not the end of the road for Hong Kong's democratic development. The "pan-democrats" can be smug for a while, but soon they will realize their "victory" is anything but sweet. When the 1,200-member Election Committee gets down to selecting the next CE in 2017, those opposition lawmakers can cry and protest, but will not be able to do anything to stop the committee from carrying out its mission. Besides, they will only have themselves to blame for creating such a mess.

There had been concern earlier that, in the event of the reform package being rejected, the central government would change its attitude toward Hong Kong. But, as a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, I've always believed that Beijing would never allow anything or anybody to undermine Hong Kong's stability. Therefore, the policy of "One Country, Two Systems" will remain unchanged to ensure social stability. Worries about Beijing backtracking on Hong Kong are unwarranted and unnecessary.

Although the reform plans have failed to proceed, I believe most supporters of the bill are pragmatic and sensible people, who will stay calm rather than freak out in face of setbacks.

The constitutional development process has cost so much time and efforts, as well as public resources, and the reform veto will inevitably have an adverse impact on our economy. Hong Kong has already lost some of its advantages due to local political controversies. We must now focus all our attention and resources on economic development and tackle issues concerning people's livelihood.

Politicization of everything is really harmful for any society. Everything the SAR government does is aimed at improving the people's lives. Since the constitutional reform process is not likely to restart any time soon, Hong Kong people should understand there's no reason to waste our energy on political squabbles, and should instead concentrate on developing the economy on which our prosperity depends.

Let's forget reform row and get on with our lives

(HK Edition 06/25/2015 page10)