Youth panel members reject unfair criticism

Local | 11 Jul 2019 1:54 pm

Members of the Youth Development Commission said the body was unfairly targeted by Chief Executive Carrie Lam who has called for its revamp, RTHK reports.

Lam said earlier this week the extradition controversy and polarization of society that resulted showed that government advisory committees had failed to fully reflect public opinion and meet people's expectations, and the YDC is among the bodies that should be overhauled.

Some YDC members acknowledged today that there's room for improvement. But they also said it was not fair for Lam to single them out as a way to resolve the extradition bill crisis.

One of its members, Senia Ng of the Democratic Party, insisted the extradition row is a political crisis, not just a youth problem.

Ng also said one useful way to better communicate with the youth in Hong Kong is to transform the YDC into a youth parliament, where elected members can make policy decisions.

"This youth parliament would have real power. They can, for example, attend sessions in Legco as their own representatives, and they can put forward policy suggestions or legislative proposals to Legco for passing," Ng said.

She said the youngsters themselves – not the government – should set the agenda for discussion.

Across the political divide, Nixie Lam of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, who's also a YDC member, said the current public consultation process has been "malfunctioning.''

"A lot of the disappointment will always happen when the government never replies on why they're not taking their advice, and that creates a very sad situation that we don't trust the government anymore," Lam said.

Both Ng and Lam see the government's top-down approach as outdated.

"You have Facebook, but then Facebook is a tool. You have to use the tool to interact, to take genuine views and try to tackle the issue," Lam said.

"If you don't agree with their ideas, explain to them why. So, I think that is the key that the government can actually improve."

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