The recent disqualification of four more democrats from the Legislative Council and the controversy over the co-location arrangement for the Express Rail Link mean that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will not have any honeymoon period with the democrats, Executive Council convenor Bernard Charnwut Chan said.
Nonetheless, Chan believes that Lam’s team has achieved a higher level of trust and communication than the previous administration under Leung Chun-ying because she is not keen on making enemies, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Chan said the smooth passage of the extra HK$3.6 billion funding for the education sector does not mean that there was a honeymoon period between the government and the democrats.
He urged the government to be on guard against the resistance to be put up by the democrats against the co-location proposal.
As to the disqualification of the four democrat lawmakers, Chan said the chief executive is not likely to intervene, nor put down anyone on purpose, as the final decision would have to be left to the court.
Chan said the democrats are obliged to voice out the voters’ concerns.
But Lam “must be righteous in recovering legal costs and filling in the leftover seats at the LegCo or risk angering the other side of the balance”, he said.
“Carrie seems like a person unlikely to do anything outside of the normal jurisdictions of the law, and will follow the results fairly.”
Chan noted that the new government has so far made proper responses to controversial issues and good communication with different stakeholders.
During the election campaign, Lam had vowed to debate on the issues of land supply and development.
But Chan said “debate” doesn’t mean there will be new consultations on how the land would be used, but rather discussions with all stakeholders and increased transparency.
“It doesn’t mean that there is a new consultation on the use of land or whether or not there is a reclamation project, because those decisions are all set in stone,” he said.
He said while there are so many stakeholders and interests involved, there are only a few possible solutions to choose from.
The most important thing is to rule out the suspicion that policies are made to satisfy big corporations and hegemonies in Hong Kong, Chan said.
He said the government has been repeatedly criticized for not being adamant about the co-location issues with Beijing, but he believes the administraion has tried its best to find some wiggle room within the set policy.
Chan also said advocates should not push forward the co-location proposal too forcefully or risk angering those who are against it, noting that some were commenting that the arrangement “can be applied to other boundary control points”.
He stressed that so far only the West Kowloon station of the rail link would apply the co-location policy.
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