Opposition camp remains split on future Legco role - RTHK
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Opposition camp remains split on future Legco role

2020-08-18 HKT 13:23
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  • Opposition camp remains split on future Legco role
Frances Sit reports
Rifts remain within the pro-democracy camp about their participation in the extended Legco session, with Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung warning that their absence would give the government an opportunity to push through controversial legislation without any resistance.

The term of this Legislative Council and of its members was extended by Beijing after the Hong Kong government decided to postpone the election for the next council by a year.

Some lawmakers, including People Power's Ray Chan and Council Front's Chu Hoi-dick, have called on the opposition camp to stay away from the extended council on the grounds that lawmakers were not given a mandate to serve for one more year.

But leaders of some traditional pan-democratic parties say they want to continue to function as lawmakers.

Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung warned that boycotting the extension would allow the government to pass controversial proposals, such as changes to election laws, without any resistance and at "the speed of light".

"Of course there were times that we were not able to stop something extremely controversial, but still voices were heard, people were still being represented in council," Yeung said.

"If [there's] no opposition voice in council, then all these highly, extremely controversial items, they will be passed easily, the government would claim that [there was] no opposition voice in council, and they have also got mandate from the people."

He added that even if they don't have a majority in Legco, they did have some success in blocking the now-scrapped extradition bill.

Yeung said a final decision has not been made by the camp, and it's possible that a consensus won't ever be reached with different lawmakers taking separate paths.

Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai also told an RTHK radio programme that participating in the council would be the lesser of two evils.

Wu says he is concerned that a boycott by the opposition could result in controversial funding requests or draconian laws being passed, which would cause irreparable damage to Hong Kong.

He said having a referendum on whether lawmakers should stay or boycott won't provide a clear answer for the camp, saying it's likely that the results won't be a landslide. He said people can express their views on lawmakers' decisions in future elections.

Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai, a prominent supporter of the pro-democracy movement, on Tuesday added his voice to the debate and said the opposition camp should participate.

Even if they can't stop all the bills, "it will show the people of Hong Kong how they fight and how the other side is trying to throttle us", Lai said during an online question and answer session.