Thursday, 18 June 2015

Reform Package Vote: As Expected

The pan-democrats are vindicated in voting down the political reform package
It was a foregone conclusion, but they still had to go through the motions.

The political reform package was voted down, but strangely some 30 pro-establishment lawmakers walked out of the Legislative Council chambers just before the vote was made, with only eight votes for the package.

The pro-Beijing side claimed there was some "miscommunication", saying they were trying to delay the vote by 15 minutes so that rural kingpin leader Lau Wong-fat could make the historic vote.

But Legco President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing went ahead with the vote as more than half the legislators were in the chamber. Twenty eight voted against the package.

Strangely the pro-Beijing lawmakers walk out of the chamber
Lau claimed he was in Kowloon Tong in the morning and was stuck in traffic getting to Admiralty...

But it was expected the political reform package would be voted down, and now the city can breathe a sigh of relief, though what's next no one knows. If the package had been passed, there probably would have been demonstrations and who knows what else.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor must have been very disappointed after all the hard work she put into this "project". How about all the taxpayer money spent on promoting the political reform package with billboards, television commercials and tour buses?

Before the vote, she claimed the government's work on reform had been "open and transparent".

"Our package is also constitutional, lawful and reasonable. It is the best package under the current situation," she said.

Carrie Lam addresses lawmakers before the vote
And that's what people like the pan-democrats don't agree on -- the current situation. How can Hong Kong accept a package like that, where the candidates must be pre-approved by Beijing and a committee of 1,200 people who are also pro-establishment? How is that fair?

She hoped that people would end the divisiveness in the community and move on.

"Society should also look and think in retrospect, about what happened in the last 20 months, and we should lay down our differences... because we still need to work together to solve our economic and livelihood problems. We need to be rational, pragmatic and understanding in solving problems, and we need to communicate in different ways," she said.

We hope she is referring to the government, because it has not listened to everyone in Hong Kong -- it has only chosen to listen to a select few. If it did hear all sides, it would put more effort into solving the laundry list of issues plaguing the city, from the yawning wealth gap, to putting some kind of rent control in place so that businesses and families can survive, to reforming the education system so that kids don't have to do five hours of homework every night, to giving more resources to the working poor and homeless. It is not like the city is in debt.

If the government had tried to solve these problems and made some headway, then maybe -- just maybe people would trust it. But the political reform package is so blatantly flawed in so many ways that one would have to be a fool to think it's something we should "pocket first".

The ball is now in Beijing's court to rethink how it will deal with this demanding child who only wants the best for its people.


  1. "How about all the taxpayer money spent on promoting the political reform package with billboards, television commercials and tour buses?"

    I wonder how much that was. In any case, think of how much better use it would have been to have allocated it for the terribly poor sections of Hong Kong society.

    1. Someone should do an FOI request on that. In the meantime CY Leung has finally decided to focus on socio-economic issues which he should have been doing all along!