Serving the Community is the Ultimate Mission For All District Councillors Stay or Leave
- By: Jayde CheungEdited by: Alison Leung
Opt to make a declaration, Ramon Yuen Hoi-man, a member of the Democratic Party, said he will stay to complete his 4-year tenure in the district council.
The 34-year-old councillor of Sham Shui Po district is one of the 174 district councillors who still uphold their identity.
According to the notice in the Gazette declared today, 214 out of 388 elected seats in the 18 District Councils are vacant.
The Civil Service Bureau has issued circulars to all government departments, requiring all existing civil servants and those who join the Government on or after 1 July 2020 to declare that they will uphold the Basic Law, bear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), be dedicated to their duties and be responsible to the HKSAR Government.
After considering the risks of disqualification and the requirement of returning the one and a half years’ salary to the government, Mr. Yuen rather takes an oath that includes upholding the Basic Law and swearing allegiance to the HKSAR.
“I will stick to my principles, including voicing for the people and monitoring the government,” he said. “I had promised to serve the people in the district at the beginning of the election, so the decision to retain the seat was made at an early stage.”
“I will do the most I can, especially since my colleagues have left,” Mr Yuen said.
People around Mr Yuen had asked him to leave. However, Mr Yuen thinks that he should stay and persevere with Hong Kong people, when the risks are still tolerable.
“People have retreated, while Hong Kong is collapsing,” Mr Yuen said. “From press freedom, councils, to the education and social work industry. Shouldn’t we voice more actively?”
As the Chairman of the Working Group on Healthy and Safe Community, Mr Yuen will keep following up on the proposals which improve the prevailing medical system.
He believes the rights to propose, discuss and voice are still guaranteed in the district council.
“Mr Yuen is very clear about what is happening in the society,” said Chan Ka-kong, a resident in Lai Chi Kok Central, “I just received his leaflets a few days ago. I am very glad that he stayed.”
On the other side, Chan Ping-yeung, the former elected democratic Southern district councillor that serves Ap Lei Chau North, has made the decision to resign on July 9.
“I still met residents in Marina Habitat the night after I resigned,” Mr Chan recalled.
Living in Ap Lei Chau for 33 years, Mr Chan’s life has integrated with his work since he became a district councillor.
Since the pandemic started to plague the community last year, soon after Mr Chan took up the official post, he had teamed up with the neighbourhood and fought the virus together. “Fortunately, we had only two confirmed cases in my district, but it was a pity that I couldn't complete my tenure.”
He will go bankrupt if the government asks him to return the salaries that exceed HK$1 million, even he attended every district council meeting before he resigned. “The government is insane,” he said.
Councillors would not be invited to make the declaration if they had done anything described by the “Negative List” attached in the Public Offices (Candidacy and Taking Up Offices)(Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2021, as disloyal to the Hong Kong SAR.
People assume that the participation in the pre-election for the democratic party, joining the petition to terminate the separate customs territory of Hong Kong, and displaying the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, the Revolution of Our Times” in their offices, are all examples of the prohibited behaviours for a qualified district councillor.
“They are actually overthrowing the district council election result. Are we wrong? No,” Mr Chan said.
In the 2019 Hong Kong District Council Election, the pro-democracy party won 86% of the geographical constituency, which is their first time to win more than half of the seats.
He believed that the government would not put an end to the disturbance even if he vowed and stayed.
“Like what Lo Kin-hei (former president of the Democratic Party) claims, maybe we can serve the citizens better if we are not confined by who we are as a councillor,” Mr Chan said. “We can work with higher flexibility once we abandon this title. This is what we mean to ‘save our own Hong Kong’.”
Councillors can put an end to the fear and apprehension, Mr Chan said. “Under the unlimited fear, we are not able to concentrate on the work.”
Resigned Ap Lei Chau councillors will stay at the community to offer help, but Mr Chan worries that he cannot earn a living afterwards.
“I am thinking about signing up for a Patreon account, where people can subscribe to my channel and donate to me on a monthly basis,” Mr Chan said, “residents used to rely on me unilaterally, but this time we need to help each other mutually.”
Zoie Law, who lives in Ap Lei Chau North, said she is grateful for all the effort Mr Chan has paid to the community, “I once saw him walking to the Sham Wan Towers alone under the scorching sun, the residence is really remote!”
Law said she will financially support Mr Chan by subscribing his Patreon account.
《The Young Reporter》
The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.
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