Justice chief in Chan's crosshairs

Top News | Phoenix Un 26 Jun 2019

Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah should resign over the amendment controversy, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang says.

She recognized Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor had most responsibility for the chaos, Chan said on radio, but she did not think Lam should quit.

"It will help little even if Carrie Lam steps down," Chan said, "for who will take her post? I'd prefer Lam learns a lesson from this issue and changes her governance style."

Chan also believed people would give Lam a chance if she could make Beijing stick to the one country, two systems arrangement.

Cheng, she added, was the principal official who should bear most responsibility with Lam and resign as she is the top legal adviser.

"It's impossible for her not to know the impact of the amendment to our rule of law, personal safety and freedom," Chan said. "But did she advise Lam not to push that bill?"

The pro-establishment camp, meanwhile, remained divided on whether Lam should retract the bill. That was apparent as the Business and Professionals Alliance joined the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and the Liberal Party in saying a retraction would be acceptable.

Legislator Priscilla Leung Mei-fun of the BPA said on another radio program she would not mind if the administration withdraws the bill so long as the community is pacified.

She also claimed to have told the Chief Executive's Office repeatedly of her opinions on the amendment, but the office ignored her.

The Federation of Trade Unions continues to insist a suspension of the bill is a de facto withdrawal. Legislator Alice Mak Mei-kuen wants cool heads for thinking on a next step.

"People demanding retraction of the bill should know it's no different from a suspension," she added.

Executive Councillor Lam Ching-choi said it was impossible for the bill to be relaunched during this administration's term.

Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Standing Committee member Henry Tang Ying-yen said the exact wording of whether the fugitive bill - suspended or retracted - is not important for "it's passed away; the whole thing stops and it's dead."

phoenix.un@singtaonewscorp.com

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