Regina Ip, Ronny Tong reject calls to quit Exco

July 09, 2019 16:51
Regina Ip (L) and Ronny Tong said they see no justification in calls for them to quit their Exco posts to accept responsibility for the extradition bill controversy. Photos: HKEJ

Two prominent Executive Council (Exco) members dismissed calls for their resignation in the wake of the extradition bill fiasco, saying they won't pay heed to "unreasonable" demands.

Responding to criticism from a top Liberal Party figure, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and Ronny Tong Ka-wah said on Monday that they see no justification in the demand that they should quit their Exco posts to accept responsibility for the recent events.

Addressing a press conference at the headquarters of the New People's Party, which she chairs, Ip said the accusations leveled against her by the Liberal Party's James Tien Pei-chun were not only “unreasonable” but also “irresponsible”.

There was no problem with the substance of the extradition bill, and the crisis arose only because the legislation was “demonized” by those opposed to it, Ip said, claiming that there are many people who support her views.

The sitting lawmaker said the government failed to do a good job of explaining the bill to the public and refuting the claims of the opposition camp.

The remarks came after Tien, one of the honorary chairpersons of the Liberal Party, suggested on Monday that Ip and Tong should resign as Executive Councilors for having given bad advice to Hong Kong's top leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in relation to the extradition bill.

Ignoring the public's concerns, the Exco members supported the controversial legislation, prompting Lam to go ahead with her plans and resulting in the recent unfortunate events in society, Tien said.

Those who gave bad advice to Lam must quit and shoulder responsibility for the extradition bill disaster, the Liberal Party honorary chair said. 

Had the events occurred in any other developed society in the world, such advisors would have long gone, Tien added.

Rejecting the criticism, Ip said on Monday that she and Tong had continuously assisted the government in explaining the bill to the public and handling a large number of media interviews.

She said she had made her views clear and offered the reasoning behind the bill, and that she sees no reason why she should quit her Exco post.

Instead, she described Tien’s attitude as sour grapes, and suggested that the former lawmaker is raking up unnecessary controversies to stay in the limelight.

Ip also criticized Tien’s demand that his party's chairman Tommy Cheung Yu-yan resign as a non-official Exco member, saying it’s unfair to Cheung.

Fellow Exco member Tong, meanwhile, echoed Ip's words, as he also rejected calls for him to quit the chief executive's top advisory body.

Responding to a media inquiry, Tong said it has never occured to him that he should quit the Exco. Pointing out that he only provides the chief executive with legal advice, Tong, who is a senior counsel, said the Exco is not responsible for making decisions in general on policy implementation.

In a Facebook post later, Tong wrote that Hong Kong is witnessing an extremely “unhealthy” and extremely “irresponsible” trend wherein some people make up facts against public figures and demand that they apologize or even resign.

If a person apologizes and resigns, it would be tantamount to admitting guilt and endorsing the false accusations, Tong wrote in the social media post.

The tragedy is that if the person does not apologize or resign, people would say such public figures never admit fault, he said.

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