Entornointeligente.com / Andrew Leung, president of the Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), speaks in an interview with Xinhua in Hong Kong, south China, April 30, 2021. TO GO WITH “Interview: Hong Kong LegCo president confident in more efficient legislature” (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)
HONG KONG, May 1 (Xinhua) — After presiding over the passage of the annual government budget, Andrew Leung, president of the Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), geared up for more tasks to accomplish on his work agenda.
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“Hong Kong was like a train going off the rails due to chaos over the past years. Thanks to the measures by the central authorities, Hong Kong is back on track and able to move on,” Leung said in an interview with Xinhua.
RETURNING TO NORMAL
Eight hours were the time taken by the LegCo to adopt this year’s budget earlier this week. It is something unimaginable in the past.
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Deliberating and approving the annual budget proposed by the HKSAR government is an important legislative function crucial to economic activities and the well-being of Hong Kong residents. However, there used to be more than a month of filibusters in every April and May since 2014 before the budget was at last approved.
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“Many measures in the budget benefit the Hong Kong residents. Why shouldn’t they be passed and implemented earlier?” Leung said, citing this year’s measures from consumption vouchers and loans to the unemployed to subsidies on power charges.
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Leung pointed out that there had been lawmakers who filibustered on everything, and such lawmakers had their own political agenda of obstructing the LegCo functions and colluding with external forces, ignoring the interests of Hong Kong.
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The LegCo recently revised its rules of procedure to allow suspension of the lawmakers of misconduct, in a move expected to reduce the room for malicious filibusters.
With higher efficiency, LegCo members will have more time to listen to the voice of public members and solve their problems, Leung said.
After the bill on improving Hong Kong‘s electoral system was introduced by the government to the LegCo on April 14, the related bills committee has spent around 45 hours so far in reviewing the draft and will continue to make all-out efforts in its deliberation, Leung said.
Leung said he was confident that the second and third readings of the bill would be completed in May so that the three major elections of the Election Committee, the LegCo and the Chief Executive would be held smoothly in less than a year in Hong Kong.
As the LegCo seats are increased to 90 in accordance with the amended Annex I and Annex II to the HKSAR Basic Law, Leung said the expansion allows in more people with different backgrounds and makes Hong Kong‘s political spectrum broader
With the electoral system improved, more talent including those previously frustrated by political chaos will be attracted to the legislature, Leung said
After the street violence and legislative chaos over the past years, a LegCo returning to normal with the implementation of the “patriots administering Hong Kong” principle will truly benefit the Hong Kong people, he said
FOR THE PEOPLE
Apart from the local electoral legislation, the LegCo and the government are also working on many other bills that concern economic issues and people’s livelihood, Leung said, adding that the legislature will hold extra meetings in summer with the goal of finishing the work by October
“Lawmakers supervise and also interact with the government to jointly serve the Hong Kong people,” he said, adding that every month, the chief executive would come to the LegCo to have a 30-minute quick Q&A session to respond to lawmakers’ concerns
Looking ahead, Leung urged LegCo members to do more practical work and work with the government to jointly address deep-seated problems in Hong Kong
Since taking office in 2016, Leung has experienced multiple unprecedented challenges but remained confident in the future. “Under the Basic Law, the legislature will continue to follow the rules of procedure and respond to new challenges,” he said. Enditem
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