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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