SCMP Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Tung rules out ministerial system

ELLEN CHAN

An accountability system for key officials was suggested in Wednesday's policy address, but at a press conference afterwards Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said this would not be a step towards a Westminster-style parliamentary system.
''A ministerial system is not allowed under the Basic Law and so it is not going to arise,'' he said.
Instead, the accountability system would suit the SAR's specific environment.
Mr Tung denied the suggestion was made because the performance of officials had affected his reputation and the Government's. ''The general public would like to see greater accountability in principal officials,'' he said.
Mr Tung said he had discussed the system with officials like Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang.
Commenting on relations between Legco and Exco, he said part of Legco's job was to monitor Exco. Their relationship could not always be harmonious.
''Tension among the two bodies is natural. The situation is quite unique in Hong Kong. Tense relations could well be a sign both are performing their functions,'' he said.
Mr Tung said Exco members had ''very good'' working abilities and attitudes.
''I don't have plans to make changes immediately but in an appropriate time, I will consider how to strengthen the power of the Exco,'' he said.
Mr Tung said the Government would work out a timetable for the accountability system as soon as possible, but that it had not yet developed a detailed plan.