Dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion ver­dict ‘de­ters im­proper oath’

LegCo pres­i­dent points out court de­ci­sion to help stop abuse of swear­ing-in Le­ung wel­comes new CE’s gov­er­nance

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By JOSEPH LI in Hong Kong joseph@chi­nadai­lyhk.com By JOSEPH LI in Hong Kong joseph@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

The dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of four more law­mak­ers last month for im­proper oath-tak­ing will serve as a strong de­ter­rent and new faces join­ing the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil will take their oaths prop­erly, LegCo Pres­i­dent An­drew Le­ung Kwan-yuen said.

Le­ung said more law­mak­ers in the cur­rent-term LegCo messed around with their oaths than be­fore be­cause those who be­haved in such a way in the past were not pun­ished.

Many new faces joined LegCo in the 2016-20 term. Since they wanted to express their

Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil Pres­i­dent An­drew Le­ung Kwanyuen is im­pressed with the per­for­mance in gov­er­nance of the new Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

Le­ung praised the over­all po­lit­i­cal at­mos­phere which has im­proved since Lam as­sumed the post of CE.

“Since Lam has come into of­fice, the gov­ern­ment has be­come more proac­tive and the at­mos­phere has greatly im­proved. It is of course due to her ini­tia­tive that the gov­ern­ment has per­formed quite well,” he com­mented.

In over a month since Lam took of­fice, many things have oc­curred. They in­clude the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of four law­mak­ers and the ap­point­ment of prin­ci­pal of­fi­cials. The most re­cent is the pro­posed co-lo­ca­tion plan for bound­ary con­trols at the West Kowloon views in ex­tra­or­di­nary ways, they took their oaths in dif­fer­ent ways, Le­ung told China Daily.

“As a cou­ple of law­mak­ers were let off af­ter do­ing tricks with the oath in pre­vi­ous years, the new­com­ers im­i­tated them and so sparked the fi­asco,” he said when asked whether the oaths were ad­min­is­tered very loosely in the past.

Le­ung said the court rul­ing clearly showed the roles of the oath ad­min­is­tra­tor and peo­ple who take the oath. While the ad­min­is­tra­tor is re­spon­si­ble for the oath pro­ce­dure, those who take the oath should be re­spon­si­ble for their own be­hav­ior. Le­git­i­macy of the oaths is de­cided by the court, he added.

In fact, be­fore the swearingin cer­e­mony on Oct 12 last year, the gov­ern­ment is­sued a state­ment; the LegCo Sec­re­tariat is­sued three state­ments to re­mind law­mak­ers-elect to fol­low the proper oath pro­ce­dures and word­ing.

The lat­est pack of four dis- Sta­tion of the Hong Kong sec­tion of the Guang­dong-Shen­zhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

As Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil Con­vener Bernard Chan said, Lam pre­vi­ously acted like the chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of an en­ter­prise and ex­e­cuted the poli­cies. Now she is a chief ex­ec­u­tive who makes de­ci­sions and shoul­ders the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, the LegCo pres­i­dent said.

“We all know that the ex­ec­u­tive-leg­isla­tive re­la­tions are noth­ing less than a pair of hands, while one hand does not clap,” Le­ung said. “We should all work for the wel­fare qual­i­fied law­mak­ers — Le­ung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Ed­ward Yiu Chung-yim and Lau Siu-lai — ar­gued that since the LegCo pres­i­dent let them re­take the oaths, he should be re­spon­si­ble and they should not be re­quired to re­im­burse the LegCo Sec­re­tariat.

“The re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the peo­ple who take and ad­min­is­ter the oaths are very clear,” Le­ung re­sponded. “If peo­ple have not taken the oath solemnly and sin­cerely, they should not shift the buck to the oath ad­min­is­tra­tor and I will not tus­sle with them over this mat­ter.”

Le­ung dis­closed that the LegCo Com­mis­sion is seek­ing le­gal ad­vice on whether it should re­cover money paid to the four.

Since the Court of First In­stance and Court of Ap­peal both said one could only swear once and there is no sec­ond chance, they are im­me­di­ately dis­qual­i­fied if they do not swear prop­erly at the ini­tial oath. of the 7 mil­lion-plus cit­i­zens as well eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and peo­ple’s liveli­hood in Hong Kong.”

He urged the ‘ pan-democrats’ to be ra­tio­nal and prag­matic, in­stead of tum­bling the gov­ern­ment. At the same time, the gov­ern­ment should listen more and ac­cept some of their views to main­tain bet­ter re­la­tions and for ef­fec­tive gov­er­nance, he added.

Le­ung hopes t he “pan­demo­cratic” law­mak­ers will take the sum­mer re­cess to plan their ac­tions when LegCo re­con­venes in Oc­to­ber. He hopes they will act in the best in­ter­ests of so­ci­ety and

“They had acted as law­mak­ers, em­ployed staff and in­curred ex­pen­di­ture for al­most a year. We need to be very care­ful with this as pub­lic funds are in­volved while LegCo is also sub­ject to the di­rec­tor of au­dit. Given this is a very im­por­tant mat­ter, we need safe, solid le­gal ad­vice from ex­ter­nal coun­sel apart from in-house le­gal ad­vice,” he ex­plained.

The LegCo Com­mis­sion will prob­a­bly hold a meet­ing to dis­cuss this at the end of this month. If nec­es­sary, com­mis­sion mem­bers will vote on it and as com­mis­sion chair­man, Le­ung will nor­mally not cast his vote.

On the day of the court ver­dict and the fol­low­ing day, the dis­qual­i­fied four, es­corted by op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers, at­tempted to break into the con­fer­ence room where the Fi­nance Com­mit­tee meet­ing was in progress. The LegCo pres­i­dent had re­minded them they should not at­tend the meet­ing or they would risk com­mit­ting con­tempt of court.

Since Lam has come into of­fice, the gov­ern­ment has be­come more proac­tive and the at­mos­phere has greatly im­proved.” An­drew Le­ung Kwan-yuen, pres­i­dent of the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil

the cit­i­zens.

Some law­mak­ers have pro­posed amend­ing the Rules of Pro­ce­dure now that six op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers have been dis­qual­i­fied, to com­bat fil­i­busters. In the LegCo pres­i­dent’s view, amend­ments are an on­go­ing process and have twice hap­pened in this leg­isla­tive term.

“Amend­ment to the Rules of Pro­ce­dure is no del­uge or mon­ster. If CE Car­rie Lam comes to LegCo once a month, we may also need to amend the rules be­cause the ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion will take place at an or­di­nary ple­nary meet­ing,” Le­ung said.

Le­ung clar­i­fied that it is up to the Com­mit­tee on Rules of Pro­ce­dures to de­cide if rules are to be amended. “I will not play a proac­tive role like for­mer LegCo pres­i­dent Jasper Tsang Yok-sing (who at­tended the com­mit­tee meet­ing to present his pro­pos­als),” he stressed.

ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY

Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil Pres­i­dent An­drew Le­ung Kwan-yuen said law­mak­ers who took the oath should be re­spon­si­ble for their own be­hav­ior.

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