Authorities should be given ample time to mull over issues

I would like to share my views regarding the issues brought up during the last Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting, and among them the administrative data that was tabulated at the end of 2020, which suggested a downward trend in rate of unemployment.

According to the authorities, the latest figures showed a steady decline in joblessness, which was 9.3 per cent in 2017, 8.7 in 2018, 6.8 in 2019 and 4.2 in 2020.

My question is: is this ‘decline’ from 9.3 per cent to 4.2 per cent the actual figure after factoring in the number of students who complete their studies annually and end up unemployed until now?

The trouble is, there is no way for a question such as this to be answered satisfactorily.

A meeting in progress during the 17th Legislative Council session last month. PHOTO: INFOFOTO

While I was happy to see these important issues being raised at the meeting, the questions posed were often followed by “responses” instead of “answers”. In other words, these issues were simply not being addressed.

In my opinion, we need to look back and review the current “Standing Order of The Legislative Council”.

Under Order 7, it is stated that: “Except with the express approval of the speaker, no member shall ask a question unless he shall have given notice in writing of such question together with the text thereof to the clerk no less than seven days before the day appointed for the meeting of the council at which such question is to be asked.”

As such, all the questions raised should have been forwarded to the clerk prior to the meeting, to provide ample time for the authorities to prepare satisfactory answers in advance or discuss among themselves for workable solutions.

I believe the LegCo order drawn up is fair as we should not expect the authorities to be able to answer all the queries at the tip of their fingers!

PAR