President, I solemnly took the oath to assume office as a Member of the Sixth Legislative Council in October 2016 in this Chamber. It has been five years in the blink of an eye. Countless unforgettable pictures are still fresh in my mind and fill me with emotions. I want to share a few moments that are particularly memorable to me here.
When I first assumed office as a Legislative Council Member, the most difficult thing to get used to was the incessant ringing of the quorum bell during Council meetings on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I heard the bell ring all the time no matter when we were having meetings with officials for policy briefings, handling meeting documents, talking on the phone with the industry, or at meals or in toilet. Even when I went home after meetings, the bell still echoed in my mind. I believe that other than Member colleagues, Legislative Council staff who worked in the Complex or even the journalists shared the same feeling. I hope that it will not happen again.
On 11 May 2019, according to the guidelines provided by the House Committee, Mr Abraham SHEK, the most senior Member, was to chair the election of Chairman of the Bills Committee on Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. When Mr SHEK wanted to enter the conference room a few minutes before 9:00 am that day, he was obstructed violently by some outrageous Members of the opposition camp. He struggled for over 10 minutes but still could not reach the Chairman’s seat even though it was just a few steps away. Someone fell on the ground and was admitted to hospital during the chaos, which was unbelievable. A few colleagues, including me, tried hard to force our way through the crowd in a bid to escort Mr SHEK to his seat to chair the meeting. However, the meeting could not proceed under such chaotic situation, and was therefore aborted. I went home exhausted that night. It was not until I found bruises on my arm did I realize I was injured unknowingly when I escorted Mr SHEK. I have never thought about sustaining “work injury” during Council meetings.
While I thought a little suffering would give me motivation, a more critical moment that put my personal safety at risk was yet to come. The Council was to scrutinize the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance on 12 June 2019. I arrived at the Complex before it was besieged by some “black-clad people”, one of the eight proestablishment Members who managed to get in and stay. We watched demonstrators remove mill barriers and move bricks, then charge towards the Police and the Legislative Council Complex frantically. We were all panic stricken watching all these behind the window. At around 3:00 pm that day, we were told that the Complex was in danger of being taken over by the demonstrators soon, so we had to evacuate. Sitting in my office on the seventh floor and looking at the helpless and fearful eyes of my assistants on both sides, what I could do was to keep calm, and urged them to follow me to leave the office for the Central Government Offices amid the strong smell of tear gas―I thank Mr John LEE, the then Secretary, for his help at that time―never have I imagined that the core political area in Hong Kong would be turned into a battlefield-like place. This is lamentable indeed.
Of course, the work in the Legislative Council also gives me lots of happy memories, especially when some of my initiatives earned the recognition and support of the Government and colleagues of the Legislative Council and were made real.
Before I assumed office as a Member, elderly people living in the remote areas had not been able to withdraw cash for many years due to the absence of physical banking services in their communities. In order to solve this difficult problem, I suggested to the Chief Executive face to face in January 2018 that EPS EasyCash service for Senior Citizens service should be launched in the post offices concerned. She accepted my suggestion and the service was extended quickly to all post offices in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, we had also pushed the Hong Kong Associations of Banks and EPS, in collaboration with a chained convenient store, to launch this service at all branches of the chained convenient store in an orderly manner. We have finally solved this old problem with the concerted efforts of different parties.
In order to help small and medium enterprises hard hit by the trade war between China and the United States, the “black-clad riots” and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 epidemic cope with their cash flow problems, I invited Member colleagues including the President, together with the representatives of chambers of commerce and the banking sector to have meetings with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited six times over the past several years, and persuade the Government to introduce the Pre-approved Principal Payment Holiday Scheme, and to extend the application period of the 100% Personal Loan Guarantee Scheme and the loan repayment period of the Pre-approved Principal Payment Holiday Scheme. With the coordination of different parties and the various initiatives which have been continuously implemented by the Government, the small and medium enterprises have been given a strong helping hand to tide over difficulties.
Furthermore, by working hand in hand with the pro-establishment colleagues of this term, I am delighted to see the passage of a number of important pieces of legislation, including the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (Co-location) Ordinance, National Anthem Ordinance, Public Offices (Candidacy and Taking Up Offices) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2021, Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021 and the amendments to the Rules of Procedure. We even stayed at the Complex overnight to ensure that the meetings ran smoothly.
This term of Legislative Council was extended for a year due to the epidemic. The work this year is far different from that of the previous four years in the sense that we have done many meaningful things for society. Especially after the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law, the cloud over Hong Kong has been dispersed; the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” has been duly implemented after the improvement to the electoral system. I believe that all Members who are sitting in this Chamber are capable and aspiring persons who love our country and Hong Kong. The Seventh Legislative Council to be formed under the protection of the new electoral system will surely continue to turn Hong Kong from chaos to stability, and further to prosperity and to a better future.
Lastly, to all pro-establishment colleagues, may all your wishes come true, and to my dear G6 partners, friendship forever. I so submit. Thank you, President.