Speech on Vote of no confidence in the Chief Executive

Today another Legco member put forward a no-confidence motion against the Chief Executive. In recent years there have been many such motions against the Civil Service. The political parties involved fully expressed their viewpoints, even though they knew that the chances of their motions being passed were not high. Of course, we have to respect their rights of putting forward motions. However, we cannot help but ask: Does HK not have other more pressing concerns to discuss? Do political question override everything else?

At present the contradictions and problems in Hong Kong are innumerable. There is in Hong Kong a groundswell of discontent and negative energies. These problems may have many causes. I have analyzed them many times before. What I want to emphasize now is that all these tensions and contradictions are cumulative. They are very complicated problems. If we simply blame the Chief Executive who took office just over a year for all these problems, is that, to the best of our conscience, fair?

We can imagine that as Chief Executive, Mr Leung, it seems, has gone into a landmine zone. If he dodges this way or that, or uses sand to cover these landmines, he can get past his five years and then escapes. But what we need is a “gutsy” Chief Executive. He, together with his team, now is courageous enough to dismantle the bombs, and these include housing, land, and poverty problems. The truth is, in dismantling such huge bombs, accidents are inevitable. If the explosion is not serious, the people will hurt superficially; if they are serious, they will be blown to pieces.

Some people have criticized this “anti-bomb squad” as poor in quality and for their unsophisticated tactics. But we have to know, they are dealing with deeply buried bombs that have been there for over 10 years. There will be a lot of resistance and their work will take time to yield results. Also, this is not an easy game. They themselves will be hurt; so will be their families. It is not easy to find the people who are willing to do the job.

If we still treat Hong Kong as our home, and do not want to emigrate, or do not have a “back door,” we should pool our resources to help the squad to dismantle the bombs. People now twisted the squad’s purposes of their actions, ridicule them, set a trap for them and thus become their stumbling blocks, all the time calling on them to quit. Instead of doing these things, we first have to acknowledge that what the team is dealing with are deep-seated problems of the territory. Second, the solution of these problems takes time and coordination from all sides.

That is not to say that the Government does not have to improve on a lot of fronts, like political skills, taking opinions, communication with the public, and lack of experience.

Some people think that the present government is in a minority government which faces various hurdles in its implementation of policies. But they fail to understand that the reason for this “minority” government’s coming into existence is that these people, regardless of the rightness and wrongness of the Government’s policies, always object. Some have their eyes on their own popular votes and not on the welfare of the society. Their acts have not benefited our society at all. Since the present government came into being over a year ago, it has weathered many controversies. I personally feel that many moderate citizens already feel unease about the political wranglings. More and more people sympathize with the Government’s predicament. I hope that the Legco members know enough is enough and cease to dispute for the sake of dispute. Otherwise, there will come a day when the public is fed up and become more dissatisfied with Legco. This scenario will benefit no one.

On the subject of the dichotomies in Hong Kong, especially of the shriveling of Hong Kong’s competitiveness, I think Legco should acknowledge these problems. Not only that, it should assist the government in setting in projects that will raise the territory’s competitiveness. However, many people still do not realize Hong Kong’s predicament, any more than the developments of the world markets. Last week, I mentioned in Legco that the Central Government has set up the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, raising fears that the Central Government wanted to “clone” Hong Kong. I also mentioned that if this area wrested away from Hong Kong a part of the territory’s business, our city will face a crisis. In the meeting, legislative councilor Dr Kwok Ka-kei, who put forward the no-confidence motion today, retorted that Hong Kong could not be cloned because Hong Kong has the rule of law and freedom of speech. He said it is impossible for the mainland to clone HK.

The truth is, cloning Hong Kong is not my personal viewpoint, but is that of many economists and media commentators. Because this concerns the future of Hong Kong, this is very important. I agree that the rule of law and freedom of speech are Hong Kong’s strong suits. Nevertheless, however powerful these strong suits are, they are not all-powerful. It is impossible to rely on these few strengths to save the whole society.

Action speaks louder than words. The economic achievements of Shanghai and Shenzhen are for all to see; I do not have to say more. When Hong Kong was the number one cargo-handling port, many people thought Hong Kong had a definite edge and did not have to fear competition. The result is that Singapore then overtook Hong Kong, followed by Shanghai. Shenzhen is also going to overtake the territory. This lesson has made a deep impression. We cannot turn a blind eye to this and keep on saying it is impossible.

I have talked at length about the shriveling of competitiveness of Hong Kong. My purpose is to remind ourselves that Hong Kong now faces pressing crises that necessitate more work and discussion on our part. I hope that we will put aside our grievances and differences to work together to revive Hong Kong and to seek fortune for the general public.

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