Maria Tam praises CE for tackling Hong Kong’s most difficult challenges
National People’s Congress Deputy Maria Tam Wai-chu on Monday praised Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for tackling some of Hong Kong’s most difficult and enduring challenges — including the city’s housing problem.
Wang Guangya, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said last week that when the leaders of Hong Kong and Macao report to Beijing in future, they should also explain any difficulties they have in implementing the Basic Law.
But Tam, speaking on a radio program on Monday morning, said it was wrong to read Wang’s remarks as a criticism of Leung’s competence.
Instead, she believed Wang was concerned about how the central government’s policies were delivered in Hong Kong. “I believe he was not targeting Leung Chun-ying. He was probably addressing the general lack of awareness of the Basic Law in Hong Kong,” she explained.
Leung’s efforts earned full recognition from State leaders during his visit to Beijing last week.
Tam also praised Leung for searching for more land in order to boost the supply of flats in Hong Kong.
She noted that the housing shortage in the city had driven up prices to very high levels.
“A lot of people used to talk about collusion between businesses and government. He (Leung) might have offended some consortia as he stepped forward to find land to build homes,” she said. “It is hard to play to your full potential if you are repressed and rendered immobile.”
Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties, disagreed that businesses sometimes interfered in government policies. At an open
He (Leung Chun-ying) might have offended some consortia as he stepped forward to find land to build homes ... It is hard to play to your full potential if you are repressed and rendered immobile.” MARIA TAM WAI-CHU NPC DEPUTY
event on Monday, he said organizations, such as his company, only spoke out as others did. He said it was government which ultimately made the decisions.
Maria Tam, who is a member of the HKSAR Basic Law Committee under the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC), also said there was no way for the city to bypass the Nominating Committee in the 2017 Chief Executive Election.
Tam said nomination by petition would be a clear violation of the Basic Law. But she said there was room to consider various forms of “recommendations” to name contenders for the Nominating Committee to choose from.
Another Basic Law Committee member, Albert Chen Hungyee, told a television program on Monday that he still considered “recommendation by petition” acceptable within the Basic Law framework. But this was only if the power of the Nominating Committee to choose candidates was not crippled or sidestepped, the University of Hong Kong law professor said.
Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said the petition model would still face practical and political challenges — even if it passed the constitutional test.