Legco Election 2016 > Opinion
Thursday, September 1, 2016, 23:58

Make sure we know what we are voting for

By Eddy Li

The election for the sixth Legislative Council of Hong Kong will be held on Sunday. At the moment, we can see all kinds of campaign posters and banners on the streets, filling the air with all the excitement of this election. According to official statistics, for the most concerning 35 seats from geographical constituencies, there are 84 lists with 213 valid nominees. This is a record-breaking number of candidates. The competition is really fierce.

Make sure we know what we are voting forThis year, many of the candidates are new faces to the public. With these future politicians taking divergent political stances, it is quite difficult to predict the outcome and its influence on the operation of the new LegCo. Whoever cares about the future of our city will be concerned about the election, especially when some radicals who promote “Hong Kong independence” are trying to grab seats in the LegCo. The consequences will be disastrous if they succeed.

In view of the severity of the independence issue, right before the beginning of nominations the Electoral Affairs Commission announced a new requirement: A candidate must submit during the nomination period a confirmation form declaring that he or she truly understands and will uphold the Basic Law, otherwise he or she will not be validly nominated as a candidate. So far, six candidates have been disqualified for promoting separatist ideas.

Nevertheless, a small group of independence advocates still managed to join the race, and continued to promote their separatist ideas during the election period. Such behavior goes directly against the statutory declaration that they will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR, which they signed before their nomination was validated. The SAR government has rightly warned that it reserves the right to take follow-up actions against those candidates in accordance with the law. Although the follow-up actions were not specified, that LegCo should under no circumstances turn into a place for promoting separatism has become a consensus for the majority in Hong Kong society.

Other than keeping the “independence” supporters out of LegCo, I believe what the citizens would really like to see is a truly efficient LegCo that monitors and facilitates the administration of the government. For over the past LegCo term, the performance was disappointing: 1,438 quorum calls were requested; 442 hours were wasted; a record was set with 18 occurrences of meetings being aborted; HK$2.7 billion, if not more, was squandered; and hence immeasurable damage was caused to our economy. The essential function of LegCo is to play an active part in economic development and the improvement of people’s livelihoods, rather than serve as a battle ground which contributes nothing but political discord while alienating the public.

The most loathsome behavior is undoubtedly an indulgence in filibustering, which has delayed bill after bill relating to livelihood projects and infrastructure in our city. The projects delayed by them, in turn, became the excuses for their discontent with the government’s administration. This kind of ridiculous conduct has happened so frequently that it has even shaken the fundamental notion of right and wrong.

Who will we vote for? If we are still hesitating, we should ask ourselves the following questions: Do we want a pragmatic and sensible legislature or one that’s quarrelling all the time? Do we need lawmakers that serve the city according to the demands and interests of the public or according to their own political gain? Do we need any more filibusters? Can we endure the advocacy of independence in the legislative chamber?

This is a campaign of positivity against negativity in society; so it’s easy to choose the most positive side.

The author is the president of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong.

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