23 April 2019
Opposition lawmakers so far have not been able to provide concrete evidence to support their  accusations against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: CNSA
Opposition lawmakers so far have not been able to provide concrete evidence to support their accusations against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: CNSA

Impeachment saga: A complete waste of time and resources

Last week 28 pan-democratic lawmakers jointly moved a motion to impeach Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying at the Legislative Council. After two days of prolonged debates, the motion, as expected, was vetoed.

I just couldn’t see any justification for spending so much time and valuable public resources on something so meaningless: whether the motion was passed or not, CY Leung is going to step down as CE in three weeks’ time. So what’s the point of doing that?

The Basic Law has laid down a clear procedure for impeaching the CE. First, at least one-fourth, or 18 lawmakers, have to jointly move a motion accusing the CE of either having committed illegal practices or dereliction of duty.

Then, if the motion is passed under the current split voting system, the Legco president would then commission the chief justice of the Court Of Final Appeal to conduct an independent inquiry into the accusations against the CE.

If the inquiry finds that the CE is guilty, then Legco members can officially move a motion of impeachment against him, which requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

Once the motion is passed, then the Legco president would submit the decision to the central government for final decision.

Everybody would probably agree that the people of Hong Kong treasure the rule of law, and anybody who has violated the law should be brought to justice.

The problem is, when it comes to whether someone is guilty of a crime or not, it is entirely up to our court of law to decide based on the evidence presented by the prosecution, rather than up to our legislature to put to a vote.

Besides, despite the fact that opposition lawmakers have continued to accuse CY Leung of taking bribes, abusing his executive power and committing dereliction of duty, so far none of them has been able to provide any substantial and solid evidence to support their accusations.

As such, it is completely pointless to impeach CY Leung in the absence of substantial and conclusive evidence.

The entire impeachment saga was just a politically motivated publicity stunt pulled by the pan-democrats to grab eyeballs and, above all, to assassinate Leung’s character.

However, by doing so, those who eagerly sought to impeach Leung might also have inadvertently assassinated their own character as well. What they did only indicates to the public that all they are interested in is mounting political struggle rather than getting down to real business.

Let’s not forget these opposition lawmakers are getting paid almost HK$100,000 a month in taxpayers’ money, not to mention their reimbursable expenses of over a million dollars every year during their term of office.

Unfortunately, these so-called people’s representatives are just eager to do basically anything to please their voters and gain the spotlight except fulfilling their most basic duty as lawmakers, i.e., making, scrutinizing and passing laws.

That said, the impeachment saga was just a complete waste of time and taxpayers’ money.

And I’m pretty sure the public would have been a lot more thankful if these lawmakers had spent those two days of Legco meeting on scrutinizing the government’s funding requests for infrastructure projects rather than on squabbles.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 9

Translation by Alan Lee with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal

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