Lam pro­poses mea­sures to im­prove ties

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By LUIS LIU in Hong Kong luis­liu@chi­nadai­

Dur­ing her first ques­tio­nand-an­swer ses­sion at the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor an­nounced four mea­sures to im­prove the frac­tured re­la­tion­ship be­tween the city’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and leg­is­la­ture.

The mea­sures in­cluded mov­ing the CE’s an­nual pol­icy ad­dress to the ear­lier date, in Oc­to­ber — at the first meet­ing of the next ses­sion of the leg­is­la­ture. Lam hopes this could help fa­cil­i­tate dis­cus­sions in LegCo.

Her pre­de­ces­sor Le­ung Chun-ying resched­uled the ad­dress af­ter tak­ing of­fice in 2012 — from Oc­to­ber to Jan­uary. The change was to have “more time to gather views from law­mak­ers”. Lam hopes chang­ing the time will help law­mak­ers fo­cus more on pol­icy dis­cus­sions.

The new leader said she wanted to es­tab­lish a mech­a­nism for reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion with dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal par­ties and groups.

Lam also an­nounced she would be present at LegCo more fre­quently to re­spond to law­mak­ers’ queries. She has left de­tails of the ar­range­ments to LegCo.

As a com­mon prac­tice, CEs at­tend Q&A ses­sions about four times a year.

Lam also pledged that not only her — but mem­bers of her ad­min­is­tra­tion — will at­tend more LegCo meet­ings.

Lam’s announcements gen­er­ally re­ceived sup­port among law­mak­ers. Chair­woman of the city’s big­gest party — the Demo­cratic Al­liance for the Bet­ter­ment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) — Starry Lee Wai-king praised Lam for at­tach­ing vi­tal im­por­tance to the re­la­tion­ship with LegCo.

Not­ing that this was very first LegCo cham­ber meet­ing af­ter Lam’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, she felt the CE had shown re­spect to the leg­is­la­ture. This could be a “good start” for the ad­min­is­tra­tive-leg­isla­tive re­la­tion­ship in the next five years, Lee ven­tured.

Leg­is­la­tor Ma Fung-kwok echoed Lee’s view. Ma wel­comed Lam’s willingness to at­tend­ing more Q&A ses­sions. He said it would be ben­e­fi­cial if the CE had one or two more Q&A ses­sions each year.

Lam also re­ceived some ap­pre­ci­a­tion from the “pan­demo­cratic” camp. Un­like the case with her pre­de­ces­sor, most pan-democrats stood up when Lam en­tered and left the cham­ber.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Lau Siu-kai said Wed­nes­day had been a good start. It was due to the gov­ern­ment’s good­will but also due to ef­forts by some “pan-democrats’’. They had been able to have some of their re­quests ac­knowl­edged by the Hong Kong and cen­tral gov­ern­ments, he ex­plained. Such mu­tual re­spect could help the city ad­dress so­cial is­sues, ven­tured Lau.

Lau, vice-pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion of Hong Kong and Ma­cao Stud­ies, said the next one or two years would prob­a­bly see less con­flict be­cause there are no ma­jor po­lit­i­cal is­sues to re­solve.

How­ever, “pan-democrats” are still likely to ex­ploit any po­ten­tial mis­takes by the gov­ern­ment for po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage. There­fore, Lau said the gov­ern­ment needed to avoid scan­dals by in­di­vid­ual de­part­ments or of­fi­cials.

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