LegCo must serve public interests

Updated: 2016-09-06 07:55

(HK Edition)

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The 2016 Legislative Council election set new records in the total number of registered voters and those who voted, as well as the number of candidates. And the election went largely without incident. That means congratulations are in order to the SAR government and the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) in particular for a job well done. According to relevant articles of the Basic Law and existing procedural rules, the elected members of the sixth-term LegCo will be sworn in later this month after the election results are certified and approved by the central government. It is therefore time for the public to remind the lawmakers that all eyes will be on them: They are now obliged to prove they are worthy of the trust voters have put in their ability and sincerity to serve the overall interests of Hong Kong society.

The fifth-term LegCo failed to live up to public expectations on a number of significant issues because the opposition members chose to defy popular wish and acted extremely irresponsibly by blocking or delaying multiple government bills intended to boost local economy and help the people in need. It was widely speculated that some opposition lawmakers did not win reelection because their popularity fell sharply as a result of their bad performances in the last four years. That is good enough a reason for members of the new-term LegCo to always remember the oath they will soon take upon swearing in and base every decision they will make on the fundamental principle of serving the overall interests of Hong Kong society according to the Basic Law.

They should keep in mind that the SAR government is executive-led, which means the primary responsibility of the legislative branch is to cooperate with the executive branch and assist it in carrying out its mission while performing its part in the checks and balances under democratic principles. As a matter of fact, the general public is tired of some LegCo members abusing their power at the expense of public interests over the years, hence the election debacles of those who went too far in undermining the lawful administration of the SAR government for their own agendas.

Hong Kong's economy is not in the best shape because of slow recovery of the global economy after the recent international financial crisis. It is in urgent need of a structural overhaul to find new growth engines and ease its current reliance on the real estate and financial services sectors. The SAR government will continue to boost the nascent innovation and technology sector to fully utilize the city's talent pool, and further efforts to attract high-caliber personnel and foreign investment to Hong Kong will require LegCo approval every time a new policy is proposed. The lawmakers are expected to do the right thing instead of serving their own political agendas first. The voting public may have different expectations for the legislators but there is no guarantee they will support the politicians who ignore popular wishes.

Many people are already worried about possible "retaliation" by radical "pro-independence" groups whose leaders were denied LegCo election candidacy by the EAC. If they repeat illegal acts like the Mong Kok riot, they will very likely trigger popular outrage in a show of solidarity. The public as well as the SAR government will respond to such unconstitutional and illegal provocations with indignation and necessary restrictive measures to safeguard the nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity according to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR and the country's Constitution. After all, there is absolutely no way the nation of 1.3 billion will ever let go of Hong Kong again. Some lawmakers-elect may plan to raise the issue of holding a "referendum" with "Hong Kong independence" as an option but we sincerely hope they won't, because they will fail disastrously if they do.

(HK Edition 09/06/2016 page1)