Hong Kong’s de facto central banker has dismissed a warning by an international credit ratings agency that a new generation of radical lawmakers could harm the city’s credit rating by resorting to more delaying tactics in the legislature.
The remarks by Norman Chan Tak-lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, came after Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah challenged Moody’s forecast that the city’s policymaking could get bogged down by anti-establishment legislators elected last month. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying took a different approach and said filibustering had harmed Hong Kong’s economy.
Political analysts believe Tsang could challenge Leung in the city’s leadership race next March, and Chan is seen as a top candidate to succeed him as financial secretary. Chan declined to comment on whether he would support Tsang or serve as a minister next year.
Speaking in an interview in Frankfurt last week as he co-led a promotional tour of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Chan was asked if he agreed with Moody’s warning about new pan-democratic and localist lawmakers taking up the filibustering torch in the next four years.
“The lawmakers haven’t formally been sworn into office yet, so it is difficult to speculate on their stance on non-political issues,” Chan said.
Citing the United States, he argued that unapproved bills did not necessarily mean a bleak economic outlook.
“Plenty of new policies [can be introduced] without legislative amendments,” Chan said, in reference to a forthcoming scheme that will link the stock markets of Hong Kong and Shenzhen as soon as next month.
Chan added that there would be “negative effects” if lawmakers blocked bills that sought to improve the city’s financial systems. But rather than derailing proposals, Legco had approved several important financial amendments in recent years.