Carrie Lam: Co-location plan ‘won’t compromise rule of law’
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor stressed on Tuesday that the co-location arrangement at the West Kowloon highspeed rail terminus “will not compromise the rule of law”.
She made the remark as the Hong Kong SAR Government announced final plans for the arrangement.
Lam said Hong Kong is a city under the rule of law. She believed the plan is in strict accordance with the “one country, two systems” policy and the Basic Law.
The co-location plan also guarantees the principle of “high degree of autonomy” and “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong”, Lam added.
“This is not a question of choice between convenience to passengers using the highspeed rail and the rule of law in Hong Kong,” Lam said. “There is no question of that concern and worry that we are compromising on the rule of law, on ‘one country, two systems’, in order to get the convenience of the highspeed rail.”
Lam reiterated that the high-speed rail will bring enormous economic and social benefits to Hong Kong. She called on the people of Hong Kong and legislators to take an objective and practical view of the plan and focus on the checkpoint arrangement itself, instead of any political illusion.
Some lawmakers from the opposition camp said they will not rule out filibustering tactics to block the plan from obtaining Legislative Council approval.
However Lam remained determined to push forward the plan as it helps maximize the rail link’s economic and social benefits.
Legal experts backed the plan following scrutiny. Albert Chen Hung-yee, law professor at the University of Hong Kong and a member of the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC), said the arrangement is innovative. As long as the NPCSC makes a decision, the plan does not conflict with the Basic Law, Chen said.
Hong Kong society largely welcomed the plan. The city’s biggest political party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), said in a statement that a co-location arrangement is a necessary and normal practice. The model had proved a success at the Shenzhen Bay Port checkpoint, which many Hong Kong residents had personal experience of, the DAB said.
A DAB survey found more than 86 percent of respondents welcome the highspeed rail in Hong Kong and support the co-location arrangement.
The city’s business sector strongly supported the plan. President of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong Eddy Li Sauhung said the co-location was long-expected by the society. It shortens the travel time between places, which will significantly enhance the connectivity of people, goods and businesses, Li said.