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Wednesday, August 10, 2016, 00:31

DAB leaders urge government to address social issues

By Li Yinze and Luis Liu

HONG KONG - The government has to step up efforts to resolve pressing social problems in the city, leaders of Hong Kong's largest political party say.

To help address these problems, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, outgoing Legislative Council (LegCo) president and founding chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), said he hoped lawmakers in the next term could focus on concrete policies - instead of wasting time on political wrangling.

Tsang made the remarks during a discussion on Tuesday with DAB Chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king on Hong Kong's social problems.

Tsang admitted there were deep-rooted problems in different areas - including housing, education and elderly care. However, he stressed that these were not caused by the government but had developed over many years.

He also noted that there were intensifying social conflicts. But many of these problems are not unique to Hong Kong, Tsang added.

He noted that two major world democracies – the United Kingdom and the United States - were both mired in localism and nativist politics.

Brexit and the appeal of the controversial Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in the US showed that ordinary people were disillusioned with their governments in other countries. Tsang added that it is a tough time for all governments.

He also admitted that the relationship between the SAR’s administration and legislature had yet to improve. Tsang said excessive filibustering was hindering policymaking. The outgoing LegCo president said lawmakers in the next term should engage more in policy matters rather than trying to score political points.

He believed amendments to LegCo's Rules of Procedure can effectively limit filibustering tactics.

"I can't end filibustering unless I have sound and reasonable grounds," he said.

Starry Lee, an incumbent lawmaker and candidate in the upcoming LegCo election, agreed. She noted that conflict existed between different groups, including the elderly and the young, the rich and poor, the central government and groups with different political views.

Addressing these problems will require joint efforts from different sectors in Hong Kong, Lee said. She added that the DAB will try to reduce conflict in society.

The LegCo election will be held on Sept 4. Lee will contest a seat in the District Council (Second) functional constituency.

Also contending are: Sumly Chan Yuen-sum, Holden Chow Ho-ding, Leung Yiu-chung, James To Kun-sun, Kwong Chun-yu, Kalvin Ho Kai-ming, Wong Kwok-hing and Kwan Wing-yip.

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