Recently on different occasions, friends have blatantly stated their worries about Hong Kong’s future to me. They all ask: “How much longer does Hong Kong want to keep up this battle? Does everyone really want to continue like this? Hong Kong still has many livelihood and economic issues, why are they not being solved first?”
Although I do not have the statistics of the number of Hong Kong people who share the same view, we should not underestimate their number, especially it is highly likely that it is increasing. In fact, their worries are justified. Many Hong Kong locals are aware that our competitiveness has very much been watered down. Right now, we can only rely on Hong Kong’s reputation as the “international financial centre” to maintain our livelihood. But as a matter of fact, Hong Kong’s future is perilous. If our “international financial centre” reputation is ever shaken, I fear for our future generations as to what they can rely on to maintain their subsistence.
In recent years, our leaders lacked long-term vision, and many deep-seated problems remain unsolved. Moreover, Hong Kong’s economic development has been stagnant for over a decade.
If we look at the other “Four Asian Tigers” countries, Hong Kong simply cannot compare to South Korea whose economy has been on a growth expressway in the past decade. Singapore has done an impressive job in developing tourism and trade – their average household income has far outstripped Hong Kong. As for Taiwan, they have been dragged down by political disputes, their livelihood and economy remain in doldrums. In fact, apart from South Korea, Singapore and the Mainland, many Asian countries have been striving for advancement opportunities. Should Hong Kong continue to focus too much on political disputes and neglect the construction of the economy and people’s subsistence, we would only sink deeper into mediocrity.
The key point of today’s motion is whether the Chief Executive has committed a serious offence or failed to do his duty. As many legislators have suggested, the Chief Executive definitely has allowed illegal structures in his home and the way he dealt with it was erroneous. But anyhow, the seriousness of illegal structure cannot be compared with transgression or corruption. They are two separate matters. As for his alleged false statements, in my opinion, it only means that the Chief Executive hasn’t dealt with the matter adequately, and the information he provided was very confusing and limited. But there is simply no convincing evidence to prove that he purposely made false statements. Therefore, there is no valid argument for the impeachment of the Chief Executive.
I believe the correct approach should be to let the Buildings Department carry on with their investigation of the illegal structure, in accordance with the law and normal procedures. Under the watch of the public and the media, it would be impossible for the government to take any sides. The rule of law is one of Hong Kong’s core values. It intends for the particular purpose of making everyone equal. The Chief Executive cannot be given unprincipled protection because of his authority; on the other hand, we cannot multiply his mistakes because of his identity either. This matter should only be handled in accordance with the law. The Chief Executive has already apologized numerous times regarding this matter and has endured a lot of insults and humiliation. His sacrifices are well vaster than the average citizen.
I would like to reinforce that although everybody knows illegal construction violates the law, it is a common problem involving many people including a significant number of politicians. I hope we can all genuinely ask ourselves, have we been relentlessly interrogating about other people’s illegal structures, but only gloss over our own?
The dispute over the Chief Executive’s illegal structure has been going on for over six months now. The Pan-Democrats have voted for motion of no confidence multiple times, asking to invoke the Power and Privilege Ordinance and the current impeachment motion. After these three steps, I hope the Legislative Council can be steered back onto the right track and focus on all the immediate problems Hong Kong is facing.