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Saturday, August 01, 2020, 10:00
Postponement 'key to public safety, election fairness'
By Gang Wen
Saturday, August 01, 2020, 10:00 By Gang Wen

The Hong Kong government's decision to postpone the city's Legislative Council election will protect public health and ensure election fairness, and shows that the government has prioritized public interests, political and business groups, lawmakers and nominees said.

A total of 42 incumbent legislators issued a statement Friday endorsing the government's decision to prioritize public health and postpone the election

The remarks came after Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Friday announced that the LegCo election scheduled for Sept 6 will be pushed back to Sept 5, 2021, due to the third wave of COVID-19 infections in the city that had seen triple-digit daily increases in the past 10 days.

A total of 42 incumbent legislators issued a statement Friday endorsing the government's decision to prioritize public health and postpone the election.

The move will reduce the risk of mass infection, better guarantee normal development of election activities and help the government focus on anti-pandemic work, the lawmakers said in the statement.

The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, the city's largest labor group, expressed understanding for the government's decision.

"Under the new coronavirus epidemic situation, priority must be given to public health," the group said in a statement.

FTU President Stanley Ng Chau-pei said in a social media post that the government's decision was based on full consideration and evaluation of the current situation, adding that the election will be credible only when it provided every resident with the same opportunity to vote.

He refuted allegations that the postponement was for the benefit of the pro-establishment camp. Such speculation was driven by political agendas, he said in the post, adding that no political party's interests can override public safety.

The Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, the second-largest political group in the legislature, said the postponement of the election is conducive to the whole community's efforts to fight the epidemic, and will also contribute to the fairness of the election.

ALSO READ: HK postpones LegCo poll for a year as local virus cases spike

The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, one of the oldest and largest chambers of commerce in Hong Kong, said the postponement of the LegCo election was a "reasonable, lawful and necessary" measure to ensure public health safety.

"It is what a responsible government does," the chamber said in a statement.

Those who opposed the postponement and those who accused the government of having a "hidden agenda" had disregarded public safety and politicized epidemic prevention, the chamber's Chairman, Jonathan Choi Koon-shum, said.

Dennis Ng Wang-pun, president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, said the postponement is necessary, considering the difficulty of conducting election activities during the pandemic.

Ng also noted that many voters in the Industrial (Second) functional constituency were currently working in Hong Kong-owned manufacturing enterprises on the mainland.

Under the existing control measures, they would have been quarantined for 14 days upon their return to Hong Kong, and this would have greatly reduced their desire to vote, he said.

READ MORE: Liaison office: Decision to delay LegCo poll in line with Basic Law

Some Legislative Council hopefuls also expressed their understanding of the government move. In separate statements, Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan, Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, and Kenneth Fok Kai-kong said they will continue to serve the public despite the postponement.

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