Moves at last to break Legco gulf

Editorial | Nov 10, 2017
I was initially skeptical that peace, albeit possibly short-lived, could be restored in the legislature when pan-democrats offered an olive branch to stop the filibustering of the motion of thanks to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor over her policy address.

But events over the past two days have been encouraging.

The motion may be meaningful to Lam personally, but constitutionally speaking, it's of little significance. Hence, government policies continued to be implemented after the Legislative Council declined to express thanks in the past.

The motion is a tradition inherited from previous regimes. If it had any significance, it would be providing lawmakers with a platform to claim credit for "proposals" the CE agreed to include in his or her policy address.

Even if the pan-dems, led by Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, didn't offer the goodwill, it's most likely the motion would still be passed this time - the first in nearly a decade - after the disqualification of six pro-democracy lawmakers stripped the opposition of the votes needed to block passage.

However, the point is that even so, it takes a goodwill gesture to sound out a compromise.

It's an olive branch government supporters, led by Martin Liao Cheung- kong, in the chamber should respond to positively, since making peace - rather than war - is the only way forward if Hong Kong is expected to keep thriving the way it has always been.

It was earlier this week when the pan-dems wrote to the pro- establishment camp to propose both sides sit down to discuss the latter's plan to amend Legco's rules of procedure.

It's well known that both sides are poles apart on proposals like lowering the quorum and making it nearly impossible for the opposition to petition to set up inquiry panels, similar to the one currently probing former chief executive Leung Chun-ying over a HK$50 million payment from Australian firm UGL.

In view of the partisan interests at stake, it's highly doubtful there'll be agreement on the matters. Nonetheless, it would be a breakthrough if both sides can even narrow some differences.

In politics, communications as such can be subtly significant.

The political situation in Legco concerns not only the parties, but also the government here and in Beijing. No matter how they view the local political development, there are bound to be doves and hawks within each of them.

It's nice to know the pro- establishment and pan-dems have been able to form an eight-member group - with four from each side - to foster formal communications. Such development would have been inconceivable in the past five years under the polarizing and unpopular CY.

While the talks would be rough, communications can always break new ground to open up new opportunities that will help keep radicals at bay in both political fronts - providing Hong Kong with the peace so badly needed for a fresh start.

As that old proverb goes, where there's a will, there's a way.

So, let goodwill prevail.

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December 2018