Mr YUEN Mo (Chairman of the 52nd terms of office) June 2021
It can be expected that the government’s administration and operation of the LegCo will be much more efficient under the new electoral system. Various sectors of society will finally be able to focus on developing the economy and addressing livelihood issues, so as to speed up Hong Kong’s integration into the country’s development.
The enactment of the Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021 is fundamental for safeguarding a stable and orderly business environment and sustained economic development in Hong Kong. Under the new electoral system, the business sector is expected to play a vital role. Indeed, we must actively get involved and support the implementation of the improved electoral system, and join forces to steer Hong Kong into a new era of good governance, which will enable us to capture the opportunities arising from the country’s development in an all-round manner.
A broadly representative new electoral system
Following the return of Hong Kong to the Motherland, there existed the need to remedy the loopholes and flaws in the city’s electoral system. The implementation of Hong Kong National Security Law in the HKSAR and the enactment of the Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021 fully demonstrate the Central Government’s concern for the welfare of Hong Kong. The “One Country, Two Systems” principle can be accurately implemented and the “patriots administering Hong Kong” ideal can be upheld on both the constitutional and legal levels subsequently.
Under the amended electoral system, the Election Committee is expanded in scale and empowered with new functions, with its membership raised to 1,500 and the number of sectors increased from four to five to encompass various social strata and domains, comprehensively covering economic, social and livelihood aspects. In addition, the number of Legislative Council (LegCo) members is increased from 70 to 90 to better reflect the will of the people and allow elites and patriots from a diversity of backgrounds to take part, thereby fulfilling the principles of “broad representation” and “balanced participation”.
Participation of the business sector to become more diverse
Some worry that the reduced number of members from various industrial and commercial subsectors in the Election Committee, including Commercial (second), to which CGCC belong and whose seats have been cut down from 18 to 17, is going to diminish the voice of the business sector. Personally, I believe that the business sector will overall be able to take part more extensively on different levels and through more channels under the improved electoral system, given the fact that the new subsectors of the system consist of many members of the business community.
For example, the subsector “Small and medium enterprises” has been created in the First Sector of the Election Committee, allowing the voices of SMEs – an important pillar of Hong Kong’s economy – to be better heard. Meanwhile, many business leaders are Hong Kong deputies to the National People’s Congress and Hong Kong members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Under the new electoral system, they will have more opportunities to help the business sector to reflect their views and appeals in the Election Committee and the LegCo.
Chinese enterprises will also have a greater say under the new electoral system: the Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association has been renamed Commercial (third) in the Election Committee, with its seats increased to 17; the new functional constituency Commercial (third) representing Chinese enterprises has also been added to the LegCo. We are certain that Chinese enterprises will contribute their knowledge and strategic perspectives on promoting market cooperation between Hong Kong and the Mainland to the LegCo.
Gatekeeping through a review mechanism
A highlight of the new electoral system is the establishment of a candidate eligibility review committee to ensure that the qualifications of candidates are in conformity with the standard and requirements of the “patriots administering Hong Kong” principle. We hope the HKSAR government will appoint the committee members as soon as possible and consider including representatives from different sectors to uphold the legitimacy of the committee.
In summary, thanks to the central government’s full support, the bill to improve the electoral system of Hong Kong was passed expeditiously within two months, which is also a testament to the sound interaction between the executive and legislative bodies. It can be expected that the government’s administration and operation of the LegCo will be much more efficient under the new electoral system. Various sectors of society will finally be able to focus on developing the economy and addressing livelihood issues, so as to speed up Hong Kong’s integration into the country’s development.