Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that the government’s decision to bypass a Legco bills committee is not an act of disrespect and she hopes the move will not undermine the relationship between the executive and the legislature.
Speaking to reporters before attending the weekly Executive Council meeting, Lam said her government had made a “difficult” decision to bypass the committee on the extradition law amendments as the panel had been deadlocked in a dispute over who should chair the meetings.
“This is not an act of disrespect of the Legislative Council. We have simply no option in order to break the deadlock and the impasse that we have seen now over the scrutiny of this particular piece of legislation”, she said.
Lam added that despite being “insulted” and “rudely treated” by some lawmakers during a number of previous Legco question-and-answer sessions, she will continue to attend these meetings in future in a bid to maintain a friendly relationship between the executive and the legislature.
But the CE brushed aside calls to withdraw the bill, saying it would be “impractical” to do so. She once again explained that the government needs a legal framework to handle an extradition request by Taiwan over a suspected murder case, saying this is the only way for justice to be served.
Lam also defended the liaison office’s open support for the controversial bill, saying it is “understandable” for the central authorities to speak out on it.
She said since foreign governments had raised concerns over the judicial system on the mainland and also "One Country, Two Systems", there is every reason for Beijing to wade in and clearly explain its stance.