Saturday, November 28, 2015   

Legco green light for accountability system

Cannix Yau

Friday, May 31, 2002

Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's accountability system is set for

launch on July 1 after the Legislative Council endorsed it yesterday.

Following more than nine hours of debate, Secretary for Constitutional

Affairs Michael Suen's motion seeking support for the sweeping changes

was passed 34-19.

Discussions continued yesterday along party lines, with opponents

calling for a democracy-based ministerial system and the

pro-government camp saying Tung's appointment system will, as he

claims, enhance government accountability.

The crucial result paved the way for the passing of a resolution on


June 19 to transfer power to 14 politically appointed principal

officials and to approve HK$43 million in funding for the new


During yesterday's debate, The Frontier's Cyd Ho accused Tung of

running the government as a "private company" by not seeking

legislation to stipulate a code of conduct for the political


"[The relationship] between Tung and ministers is just an

employer-staff relationship. Tung is running Hong Kong like a private

company without regard for long-term political development," she

said. Suen said the system was adequate to preserve officials'

integrity and political neutrality. He also said a breach of

employment terms could lead to dismissal.

Ho also questioned the urgency for the system to be in place for July

1. "Is it simply there to seek the blessings of [Beijing] or to spice

up the start of his second term? If this is the goal, then the price

we pay is really too high."

Both unionist Tam Yiu-chung, who is also an executive councillor, and

medical sector legislator Lo Wing-lok said the new system's success

would hinge on the kind of people to be appointed.

"It all depends on whether Tung can invite talent to formulate good

policies, otherwise, it'll only be a change of name," Lo said.

Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee's amendment calling for "a

democratic political system based on universal suffrage and

accountable to the Legco" was rejected.

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