Members of new Exco reject ‘reward’ speculation

Horace Cheung says his legal background and young age were key reasons for him to be chosen as a member of the Executive Council. File photo: RTHK

Horace Cheung says his legal background and young age were key reasons for him to be chosen as a member of the Executive Council. File photo: RTHK

Newly-appointed Executive Council members vowed on Thursday to live up to their roles, dismissing speculation that some of them got their seats on the body as a reward for supporting Carrie Lam in her election campaign. 

One of the newcomers into the council which will advise the Chief Executive-elect, DAB legislator Horace Cheung, said he thought he was appointed because he’s a young politician with a background in law. 

He also rejected concern that he will be nothing but a government “yes-man” in the Legislative Council from now on. 

“Under the collective decision of the Executive Council, as a member of the council, I am obliged to introduce and promote the policy no matter whether it’s in the Legislative Council or in the society,” he said. 

“So, I will make my contribution, certainly, first to give my opinion and advice in the Executive Council. And if a decision is made in the Executive Council, then, I am under an obligation to promote and introduce this proposal to the community.”

New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip said her Exco role isn’t some sort of consolation prize, and it’s time to put the election campaign behind her. 

She is making a comeback to Exco after leaving last year to try to enter the CE election. Ip failed to qualify as she couldn’t get the required minimum number of backers. 

“Well, I don’t think I need any consolation. And, I did not ask for any consolation prize. I decided to re-join Exco at the invitation of Mrs Lam, and with full support from the central committee of my party,” said Ip. 

“I will continue to serve Exco as I did in the past, abiding by the collective responsibility and confidentiality principles and will strive my best to give Mrs Lam the best advice,” she added. 

Liberal Party leader Tommy Cheung, who has been an Exco member for just seven months and is now being reappointed, rejected criticism that the new team only consists of old members. He said quite a large number of them are new faces.

Former Civic Party legislator Ronny Tong, who quit the party in 2015 to form the Path of Democracy think tank, said he hopes to help improve the government’s relationship with the pan-democrats. 

Tong also said it’s unfair for some to say he’s no longer a member of the pan-democratic camp just because he is joining the government. 

However, Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung made it clear that Tong does not represent the pan-democratic camp. 

“Since Mr Tong quit the Civic Party… he had made it very clear that he had to depart from the traditional democratic platform, and have his own way – the third way,” Yeung said. “So, my comment is, I don’t think Mr Tong can represent the democrats at Exco.” 

Yeung also said he’s worried that the function of Legco as the check and balance of the executive branch may be undermined because so many Exco members are also legislators.