Le­ung de­fends his qual­i­fi­ca­tion as LegCo pres­i­dent

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - INTERVIEW | HK - By JOSEPH LI in Hong Kong

In the in­ter­view with China Daily, An­drew Le­ung Kwan-yuen re­jected crit­i­cisms aimed at him af­ter he took over from Jasper Tsang Yoks­ing as pres­i­dent of the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil in Oc­to­ber.

Le­ung’s crit­ics cast doubts on whether a leg­is­la­tor from a func­tional con­stituency should be­come LegCo pres­i­dent. They noted that Le­ung, who had been elected in the In­dus­trial (First) con­stituency un­op­posed in four con­sec­u­tive elec­tions, had zero votes and had no man­date from the elec­torate.

Le­ung stressed that all leg­is­la­tors are equal, say­ing: “In ac­cor­dance with the Ba­sic Law, there are 70 leg­is­la­tors, with equal num­bers from the ge­o­graph­i­cal and func­tional con­stituen­cies. The Ba­sic Law says the pres­i­dent is elected among the leg­is­la­tors. It does not say who should be­come the pres­i­dent or if the one who gets the highest num­ber of votes in the LegCo elec­tion shall be­come the pres­i­dent.

“We must ac t in ac­cor­dance with the Ba­sic Law and should not im­pose ad­di­tional re­quire­ments,” he added.

Former LegCo pres­i­dent Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai had scored very high pop­u­lar­ity rat­ings dur­ing her tenures from 1997 un­til she stepped down in 2008. Dur­ing most of her terms as LegCo chief, she had ac­quired her LegCo seat through the erst­while Elec­tion Com­mit­tee con­stituency, and she only ob­tained the seat via di­rect elec­tions in the 2004-08 leg­isla­tive term.

“I was re­turned un­con­tested in LegCo elec­tions be­cause I had per­formed well in the sec­tor and won the sup­port of the con­stituency,” Le­ung said. “If my per­for­mance had not been good, other peo­ple should have chal­lenged me in the LegCo elec­tions. In­stead of say­ing I was elected with zero votes, why don’t they say I won the elec­tions with a clean sweep of the votes?”

Not only did his func­tional con­stituency back­ground draw at­tacks from “pan-demo­cratic” law­mak­ers, Le­ung was also de­scribed by some in the op­po­si­tion camp as a “very tough, un­bear­able per­son”.

Re­spond­ing to crit­i­cisms that he’s a tough per­son to deal with, Le­ung ex­plained: “I shall be solemn and se­ri­ous when pre­sid­ing at LegCo meet­ings be­cause these meet­ings are not TV game shows. The at­mos­phere in other par­lia­ments is also very solemn, isn’t it? I’m not a tough per­son and I’m happy to meet with leg­is­la­tors if they want to dis­cuss mat­ters with me.”

Le­ung said leg­is­la­tors should re­spect the Rules of Pro­ce­dure and warned: “If they do not abide by the Rules of Pro­ce­dure, I shall take ac­tion in ac­cor­dance with it. Very often, some leg­is­la­tors stand up and claim they raise queries pur­suant to the Rules of Pro­ce­dure. Yet, what they do most of the time does not com­ply with the Rules of Pro­ce­dure.”

Le­ung joked that af­ter be­com­ing head of the leg­is­la­ture, he has be­come a very lonely per­son. He ab­stained not only from de­bat­ing or vot­ing but also from tak­ing part in gath­er­ings or­ga­nized by the Busi­ness and Pro­fes­sion­als Al­liance for Hong Kong (BPA), the po­lit­i­cal party he is af­fil­i­ated to.

“Some leg­is­la­tors even com­plained about me wear­ing the BPA badge,” he said.

An­drew Le­ung Kwan-yuen

presided over the sec­ond meet­ing of the sixth LegCo on Oct 19, at which leg­is­la­tors-elect who had failed to take their oaths ac­cord­ingly were sched­uled to be sworn in.

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